Why was early coronavirus coverage so lazy? The media’s insatiable thirst for political correctness – The Spectator USA

When the media views its entire mission through a lens of meting out social justice while presenting itself as the opposition to the current administration, it completely misses the forest for the trees. Usually this just leads to harmless sparring between ideological opponents on the pages of the New York Times opinion section, but its lazy coverage of the early spread of coronavirus had national and international consequences.

President Trumps order to halt all travel from China on January 31, for example, was met with hollers of xenophobia from the loudest corners of mainstream media. Those cries have since been memory-holed quite literally, in some cases (Vox) but its worth revisiting the where the worst actors in media stood when this pandemic started. In fact, it was the very next day after Trumps executive order that mainstream media outlets published stories downplaying the threat as merely another xenophobic reaction to foreigners, just like theyve done with Trumps position on immigration at the southern border.

The night that President Trump issued his order, Vox tweeted, Is this going to be a deadly pandemic? No. That tweet was then deleted with a correction earlier this week. Lenny Bernstein at the Washington Post wrote on January 31, Get a grippe [sic], America. The flu is a much bigger threat than Coronavirus, for now. The next day, the Washington Post published an op-ed titled, Past epidemics prove fighting coronavirus with travel bans is a mistake. In what appeared to be a full court press against the presidents order, the paper published another piece on January 31, How our brains make coronavirus seem scarier than it is. On February 3, they hit us with another op-ed headlined, Why we should be wary of an aggressive government response to coronavirus, arguing it would lead to more stigmatization of marginalized populations.

On January 29, in concert with the Washington Post, BuzzFeed News tweeted, Dont worry about the coronavirus. Worry about the flu. Just a few days before President Trumps Oval Office address to the nation, CNNs Anderson Cooper said on air that if youre freaked out about the Coronavirus you should be more concerned about the flu. And then shortly after Trumps address, CNNs Brian Stelter commented that Sean Hannity and Fox were going to celebrate the travel ban while evading the scourge of community spread within the US. CNN then published online in late February that racist attacks against Asians (only of which a handful in the United States have been authenticated and documented) spread faster than the coronavirus.

This was all, of course, reflexive coverage to a president they see as an emotional and oppressive opponent. Trump has made a hobby of hitting the media over the head with whatever bat they hand to him, and its one of the reasons its hard to listen to any of their sky-is-falling coverage now. Donald Trump is going to spin his way through this crisis, just like any communications-minded president would do, and the medias attempts to play catch-up will leave them with a public that no longer trusts them.

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Why was early coronavirus coverage so lazy? The media's insatiable thirst for political correctness - The Spectator USA

Are progressives afraid of challenge to their socialist agenda? – Wyoming Tribune

Could America be in the midst of a shift where good and evil are seen as they really are? Have we replaced "censorship" of obscenity with the "censorship" of free thought and speech by "political correctness"? Are "political correctness" buzz words of diversity, social justice, moral relativism and multiculturalism usable decoys of socialism?

Is confusion the purpose behind "identity politics?" Could the reason "Make America Great" is so offensive to many is because it exposes and challenges the agenda to destroy America through socialism? Are we being shown by the Democratic primary that Bernie Sanders is too honest as a socialist, Communist; that powers in the Democrat Party don't want their real agenda disclosed?

Here is just a couple of goals from the 1958 book "The Naked Communist" by Cleon Skousen: Goal 40, Discredit the family as an institution, encourage promiscuity and easy divorce; and Goal 27, Infiltrate the churches and replace revealed religion with "social" religion. Discredit the Bible.

Another Communist goal manifesting in public education and reinforced by the media has been to give our children a collective, socialist mindset so that they will be dependent on the government. How many know Karl Marx was the originator of Communism and the environmental movement, that Earth Day is Lenin's birthday, all while communist China is one of the Earth's worst polluters?

Has it become obvious that liberal math is addition for liberal progressives and subtraction for everyone else? Could the scamming of consumers, students and voters actually be challenged by people pursuing the truth? Although progressives preach democracy, freedom and utopia, is not their practice totalitarian socialism, which destroys real freedom, and the market economy, which has brought prosperity?

Ironically two things (among others), that I remember traveling in Russia and Ukraine in 1993 shortly after Communism supposedly collapsed was a shortage of food and toilet paper. What if, rather than jumping on the media's fear bandwagon that's pushing panic and chaos, we choose to know the Prince of Peace, giving us the ability to discern the real situation and calmly respond with wisdom (Proverbs 3:5-8)?

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Are progressives afraid of challenge to their socialist agenda? - Wyoming Tribune

The Coronavirus Death Count and Trumps TV Ratings – The Bulwark

Was President Trump bragging about his television ratings? Or was it his polling? Maybe it was that he wanted credit for New York governor Andrew Cuomos high marks. Forgive me for not remembering or even caring. Theres only enough bandwidth for one number at the momentthe national COVID-19 death toll that stalks a new record high each day.

As of the evening of March 31, the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 counter reported over 189,600 cases in the United States and over 4,000 dead. FEMA is sending refrigerated trucks to transport corpses from New York hospitals. Gymnasiums and parks have become makeshift emergency hospitals. Medical professionals, many reporting to the frontlines without proper personal protective equipment, are risking their lives to treat patients who carry the deadly infection. By one count, more than 260 million Americans are now under some kind of stay-at-home orders. Businesses, big and small alike, are fighting to survive. More than 30 million American children cant go to school.

Already concerned about scraping a victory from the ashes, Trump said over the weekend that he thinks the final death toll will be 100,000 or maybe even less and that he and his team have so far done a very good job.

On Tuesday, in a presentation that was more sober than his usual performances, Trump told Americans during a two-hour marathon White House press conference that were going to go through a very tough two weeks. Still, he couldnt refrain from again praising his own performance. I think only good things can be said when you look at the job thats been done, he said.

At Tuesdays briefing, Trump stood in front of a screen presenting a slide that showed the goals of community mitigation would result in deaths totaling between 100,000 and 240,000. Citing the possibility of more than 2 million deaths had the government taken no action, Trump reiterated I think weve done a fantastic job . . . I think weve done a great job . . . I think Ive done a really good job of mobilizingas if 75,000, 90,000, or even 230,000 dead should provide him a grand Mission Accomplished moment. He can probably see himself now standing on the deck of USNS Comfort docked in New York basking in the gratitude of a thankful nationwhen in reality, millions of people would be in mourning.

Podcast April 01 2020

On today's Bulwark Podcast, Politico's Ben White joins host Charlie Sykes to discuss the economic ramifications of COVID...

President Trumps often-bizarre press conferences are reminders that he is concerned first and foremost about how COVID-19 affects his image and his re-election chances.

Over the weekend, he tweeted about his TV ratings:

He vainly believes that he is getting stratospheric television ratings because of his leadership appeal and not because millions of people are trapped in their houses in the middle of a pandemic desperate for clues about what happens next.

Meanwhile, those who question his approach are scolded because, as he said on Sunday, When they disrespect me, theyre disrespecting our government. (This sounded better in the original French: Letat cest moi.)

Instead of focusing all their energy and attention on the pandemic, Trump and his allies are picking many of the same kinds of vapid fights they always have.

Think back to what he has said over just the last six weeks. In late February, Trump accused the Democrats of politicizing the virus and described it as their new hoax. When he couldnt downplay COVID-19 anymore, he and his allies labeled it the Chinese virus and stoked a debate about the political correctness or racism of that term. In just the last few days, his allies have gone back to denigrating Democrats, saying they diverted the presidents attention from the emerging crisis with the impeachment proceedings.

Its all so tiresome to keep up with, mainly because of how pointless the blame-shifting is.

Anyone with access to Google can see how wrong hes gotten it. Roll the tape of how he promised back in January that We have it totally under control. Its one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. Its going to be just fine. Find the transcript where he told Fox Newss Sean Hannity, Well, we pretty much shut it down coming in from China. Look at his February 26 remarks, when there were only 15 known cases of COVID-19 in the United States and he claimed that within a couple of days that number is going to be down to close to zero, thats a pretty good job weve done.

When it finally became apparent that the number wasnt going down, Trump pivoted. He implied a vaccine would be available soon. He said, anyone who wants a test can get a test, and it would be coordinated through an easy-to-use, Google-designed website that would be rolled out very quickly. All of it was a firehose of falsehood, an avalanche of lies.

Is there any point in proving how much he lies anymore? Because right here before us all, there is a far more critical number than his TV ratings, polling, or the Dow Jones Industrial Average: the tally of the sick and the dead. As the president crows about his TV ratings, a black cloud looms over every American householdthe dread that comes of knowing that you or someone you care about could be next. It could be a family member, a teacher, a doctor, or that lady at the gas station who calls you, and everyone else, sweetheart when you go inside to buy snacks. Its an invisible terror, ruthless and random. Theres no telling who it will strike down or when.

But we will know their names. They will be recorded in a terrible ledger. And there would be far fewer names in that grim list if our president had acted differently.

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The Coronavirus Death Count and Trumps TV Ratings - The Bulwark

Transgender activist talks about what transitioning was like in Israel – University Press

FAUs Owls for Israel and National Organization for Women chapters hosted an online event featuring transgender activist Michael Alroy.

Michael Alroy. Courtesy of Alroy's LinkedIn

When he was four years old, Michael Alroy knew he wanted to be a boy upon receiving a Barbie doll as a gift, while his brother got a tractor. Another major point in his life was when he moved to Israel from South Africa at 7 years old with his mother and two siblings to start a new life.

And at 20 years old, Alroys life changed again: he transitioned from female to male, from Michelle to Michael. Alroy said his transition allowed him to fully be Michael Alroy, and that is it.

FAUs Owls for Israel and National Organization for Women chapters hosted an Alroy last week via Zoom, where he gave a lecture called Life Begins Where Fear Ends. He discussed the complicated relationship he had between himself and his religion throughout his transition.

The lecture is important because [people] have no idea what being transgender is, Alroy said. Theres a lack of knowledge and lack of political correctness.

Michael began the lecture by asking the seemingly simple question: What is a man? Alroy said there were two answers: biological concepts and social, cultural concepts.

Though he said his transition brought many struggles, some involving family and others involving society and cultural influences, Alroy said the process taught him to love himself.

When Alroy began identifying as a man, he said that ultimately shifted the dynamics of his family and his religious affiliations.

Upon arriving in Israel, Michael then named Michelle was enrolled into an all-girls religious school, which caused him to struggle with his mental health and gender. He said those struggles allowed him not to just become religious, but become a believer in God and in the good of others.

After finishing school and joining the Israeli Defense Forces which he enlisted in as a woman more difficulties arose when he decided to transition. (The first openly transgender officer of the Israeli Defense Forces wasnt announced until 2017.)

The Owls for Israel president, Jayda Pierre, said the event was both successful and enlightening.

Israel is a beautiful and diverse country, Pierre said. We are happy that Michael shared his incredible story with us and showed us that although Israel is not perfect, it is on the right path with LGBTQ+ rights.

According to the Jewish Virtual Library, Israel was ranked as the seventh happiest place in the world for gay men to live. Another important step for LGBT people in Israel was the opening of a mixed-gender praying space at the Western Wall, a holy Jewish site, the Jewish Virtual Library website reads.

Alroy also discussed his 2015 appearance on the Israeli version of the reality show Big Brother, which led to an increase in discussion of the transgender community in Israel, he said.

Hes presented his Life Begins Where Fear Ends lecture at multiple universities.

Haley Flamenbaum is a contributing writer for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [emailprotected]

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Transgender activist talks about what transitioning was like in Israel - University Press

Sheltered in Place? Read The Best Of The New Campus Novels – Forbes

There's a new batch of campus novels - just it time for good reading during this spring of ... [+] self-isolation.

Campus closed? Still self-isolating? Fed up with zoom? You need some entertainment, or at least a bit of distraction? Well, nows a good time to curl up with the latest campus novel, and this year brings a good crop for your consideration.

The campus novel continues to push its boundaries, serving as a vehicle for all kinds of fictional explorations. Heres my recommendations of five recent good reads, including tales of love, revenge, reminiscence, intimacy and loneliness; you know, the typical campus scene.

In Real Life, Brandon Taylor covers three days in the life of Wallace, a black, gay graduate student in biochemistry at an unnamed university in the midwest (although it sure resembles the University of Wisconsin, where Taylor was once a biochemistry student himself). Taylor brings the precision of a scientist to his descriptions of Wallaces desires and defenses, at war with each other throughout the story. And he captures the ennui of those caught between the lure and the loneliness of academic science, trapped in an existence that doesnt qualify as a real life - Stay here and suffer, or exit and drown.

A search for purpose, complicated by being black in a white space, suffering his own estrangement from these people he calls his friends is Wallaces struggle, and its told bleakly but beautifully in Taylors debut novel.

Published in 2019, Richard Russos Chances Are... is not a campus novel so much as a college nostalgia (the title drawn from the Johnny Mathis classic that backgrounded a generations foreplay). Three men, now in their sixties, life-long friends since their undergraduate days at Minerva College, get together on Marthas Vineyard for a reunion. Forty years earlier theyd come to the same beach house for a post-graduation farewell weekend, accompanied by Jacy Calloway, a fellow student with whom all three were in love. That weekend was the last that Jacy was seen or heard of, a disappearance thats haunted the three men ever since.

Mixed in with reminiscing about their Minerva days and disclosing the triumphs and trials of their lives, the three men remain obsessed with Jacy - and what became of her. Their preoccupation bends much of the novel into a mystery - too melodramatically at times. But nobody does rueful masculinity as well as Russo, and his powers are on poignant display here, particularly when exploring the often fraught bonds between fathers and sons.

The Truants by Kate Weinberg is a twisty tale narrated by Jess Walker, whos been drawn to enroll in a drab college in East Anglia so she can study under Dr. Lorna Clay, an enigmatic, provocative expert on Agatha Christie and the author of The Truants,in which she puts forth her lifes theme - writers must live dangerous, selfish lives in the pursuit of unique insights.

With gestures to Donna Tartts The Secret History, this debut novel is a blend of murder mystery, coming-of-age story, campus intrigue and academic pretense. Jess and her three eerie friends (Georgie, Nick and Alec - all Clay aficionados) galavant through the full landscape of young adult emotions - rebellion, friendship, envy, lust, treachery - into adulthood, doing their best to cope with the betrayals they regularly deal to one another. Great characters, lots of deceit, messy love triangles, and several intriguing asides for Christie lovers, this is an enticing read.

We Wish You Luck by Carline Zancan is story about three aspiring writers attending a highly competitive, low-residency MFA program at Fielding College. Zancan, herself an MFA graduate from Bennington, spins an absorbing, suspenseful tale about the culture - the recognition and the rejection, the closeness and the competitiveness - that develops in graduate writing programs.

After Jimmy, one of the novels featured trio of students, is devastated by a lacerating critique of his workshop poem by the hotshot writer leading the class, the story turns to his colleagues revenge. Reading like a low-speed thriller, this is a novel that honors the hard craft of good writing and respects the obligated response of serious reading. It lays bare the torture and triumph of becoming a writer and how writers shape one another - for better or worse.

A staple among campus novels is the satire of academias pretentious and insularity. This year that base is covered by Scott Johnstons Campusland, a sharply written and hilarious send-up of the elite Devon University, not so subtly modeled after Yale. Johnston takes aim at the precious sensibilities of todays campuses, skewering everything from trigger warnings, safe places, tenure tussles, Title IX excesses and deficiencies, diet fads and identity politics.

The cultural wars are fought all around the central character, Ephraim Eph Russell, an earnest assistant professor of English who is unlucky enough to be falsely accused of two incidents of misconduct. The first - trumped up by competing honchos in Devons camps of progressive students - is that he allowed racially insensitive language to be used in a class on Mark Twain. The second - a frame job by undergrad Lulu Harris, a histrionic, social climbing ,it girl - is that Eph sexually assaulted her in his office.

Eph is surrounded by a cast of campus archetypes, including the glad-handing president Milton Strauss; overpaid administrators blinded by political correctness; clueless frat boys preoccupied with sex, alcohol, and flatulence; ever-fractionating progressive student groups waging internecine power struggles, and humanities faculty with their agendas of grievance. He has one true ally - his girlfriend DArcy, who also happens to be Milton Strauss administrative assistant. Campusland throws a lot of jabs and, unless you think the academy is too sacrosanct to ever be poked, many strike a chord.

Self-quarantine has left all of us with a lot of time on our hands. Put a book in them instead. For those of you longing for a return to campus, these five novels will take you there, at least for a little bit.

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Sheltered in Place? Read The Best Of The New Campus Novels - Forbes

Jeff Cooper: The Man Behind the ‘Modern Technique’ – American Rifleman

This article, "Col. Jeff Cooper," appeared originally in the October 1993 issue of American Rifleman. To subscribe to the magazine,visit theNRA membership page hereand selectAmerican Rifleman as your member magazine.

Some years ago, Big Bear Lake, a southern California ski resort town, put on a *'Miners' Days" extravaganza for the commendable purpose of attracting its share of summer tourists. Among the major activities was a "Leatherslap" fast-draw contest, organized by a retired colonel of Marines, John Dean Cooper, always known as 'Jeff.'"

Decrying the blanks commonly used in"fast-draw" matchesCooper held even then that the purpose in shooting is to hit the targethe decided on man-on-man bouts using paper silhouette targets at about 7 yds.

Though paper targets made it difficult to determine the match winner, the Leatherslap was a huge success, so much so that it became first an annual and then a monthly event, and the Bear Valley Gunslingers and later the South West Combat Pistol League were formed to run it.

In that first Leatherslap, single-action "cowboy" and double-action police revolvers predominated. Only Cooper and Hugh Carpenter were eccentric enough to use the 1911 Colt .45 pistol. All held their guns with one hand, naturally, and most employed point or hip-shooting, though Cooper says he did use the sights. The next year, a deputy sheriff named Jack Weaver shocked everyone by winning decisively while holding his revolver in both hands, and handgunning was changed forever.

Weaver was far from being the first pistolero to use both hands. Although the pistol was developed mostly as a cavalry arm that was necessarily used one-handed in order to leave the other free to control the steed, it had on occasion been grasped in both hands, probably from the beginning.

For example, in his 1930 book, Shooting, J.H. FitzGerald has a photo of himself using a two-handed hold that, at least superficially, resembles the Weaver stance. "Very accurate shooting can be done ... and the officer will find he can shoot faster and with moreaccuracy after a run if the arm is held in this manner," he advises.

There is an illustration of a young Elmer Keith using two hands in his book Sixguns, and Don Martin, writing in the 1957 Gun Digest, advocated a two-handed hold in the field. None of these men suggested that the two-handed grip originated with him.

However, there is more to the Weaver than holding the pistol in both hands. Normally the weak-side foot is slightly advanced so that the supporting arm elbow can be bent while the firing arm is fully extended, or nearly so. The supporting hand pulls back against the firing hand to set up isometric tension that controls muzzle flip and tends to return the pistol to the original line of sight after each shot.

This principle is what distinguishes the Weaver from all other stances, and if the earlier exponents of two-handed pistol shooting knew about it, they made no mention of it that I can find.

Jeff Cooper was born in 1920 into a comfortably well-off California family that kept a summer home on Catalina Island, where he ran free during his formative years. He was introduced to rifle shooting at age 11 (a rather ripe old age, he says), acquired his first rifle, a Remington Model 34 .22 rimfire that he still owns, at 14, and was harassing the wild goats with a .22 Hornet ("not enough gun") at age 16.

Thus he began his shooting career with the rifle, though he did gain some experience with the handguns used to kill sharks on a fishing boat owned by one of his father's friends, including a broomhandle Mauser.

Cooper joined the Reserve Officers Training Corps in high school because it issued free .22 ammo to the rifle team, and continued in it at Stanford University, where he earned a BA in political science and met the girl who would become his wife.

In those days, the Marines were permitted to recruit from the Army ROTC. The enticement they offered, besides the glamour of an elite unit, was a regular commission as opposed to a reserve commission in the Army.

Cooper was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps in September 1941 and was attending Basic School when Pearl Harbor was attacked. He served the first 2.5 years of the war in the Pacific on the shore bombardment battleship Pennsylvania,and was preparing to invade Japan with the 3rd Marines when the atomic bombs were dropped.

He spent a few years after the war as a student and staff instructor at the Marine Corps Command and Staff School at Quantico, Va. There he began his serious research into the art of the combat pistol by evaluating an FBI course, after which he and Capt. (later Col.) H.G. Taft created a radical Advanced Military Combat Pistol Course." Some elements of that course are still in use today.

After a brief spell as a civilian, Cooper served through the Korean War in clandestine operations so covert that his oath of secrecy still prohibits him from discussing them. He resigned with the rank of lieutenant colonel in 1955 and settled with his wife Janelle and three daughters into a large house in Big Bear Lake. He dabbled in automobile racing, and wrote some articles about it for one of the Petersen's magazines, but did not find his true vocation until that first Leatherslap.

Cooper realized that competition was the means by which the full potential of the combat pistol could be discovered and the tool by which the best techniques for realizing that potential could be developed. To that end, he insisted on freestyle competition.

"Service-type" sidearms and ammo were to be used, and all strings started with the pistol holstered, but apart from that there were few limitations, and competitors could use any technique, stance or holster they chose.

Targets included balloons, paper silhouettes and-metal gongs, at ranges from arm's length to more than 100 yds. The courses of fire were diversified so that none was repeated during the competition year, and all attempted to simulate real-life situations that might occur on the street.

From all this, men like Jack Weaver, Elden Carl, Ray Chapman, John Plahn, Thell Reed and Cooper developed the "Modern Technique" and learned to shoot the pistol so well that it was elevated, as Cooper remarked, from being a mere badge of office or last-ditch trinket to a serious personal-defense tool. In this open competition, the Browning-designed M1911 Government pistol proved to be the best handgun available.

The Weaver Stance is only one component of the Modern Technique, which includes among other things the use of the flash sight picture even at close range, the compressed surprise trigger break, proper gun handling, safety rules, malfunction drills and reloading, and perhaps above all, the combat mindset.

Cooper has written that "Man fights with his mind. His hands and his weapons are simply extensions of his will He says that of the 50 or so of his students who have been involved in lethal confrontations, not one student claimed to have saved his life by his dexterity or his marksmanship, but rather by his mindset.

He defines the combat mindset as that state of mind which ensures victory in a gunfight. It is composed of awareness, anticipation, concentration and coolness. Above all, its essence is self-control. Dexterity and marksmanship are prerequisite to confidence, and confidence is prerequisite to self-control.

Cooper wrote about this new doctrine of practical pistolcraft, and presently he was being asked to teach it, mostly overseas. Working with the good guys in hot spots in Latin America, Europe and Africa, he evolved simple and effective ways of teaching the modern technique.

The demand for his services grew so that he was seldom home, though he did find time to earn his masters in history at the University of California, Riverside, in 1965. Finally, in 1975, he and Janelle moved to Gunsite, a 200-acre ranch near Prescott, Arizona, where he created the American Pistol Institute, now Gunsite Academy, a complete school for small arms. The first class gathered in the fall of 76.

In the meanwhile, the popularity of practical pistol competition had grown so enormously both at home and over-seas that a conference was held the same year at Columbia, Missouri, which resulted in the formation of the International Practical Shooting Confederation (IPSC), with Cooper as founding president, and with DVCDiligentia, Vis, Cereritas (accuracy, power, speed)as its motto.

Cooper has always regarded competition primarily as a research tool, and as a means of improving one's ability to defend himself and others in an increasingly dangerous world. Of late, however, the gamesmen have rather taken over IPSC (as inevitably happens),) with the result that its courses of fire, and the equipment and techniques used, are becoming somewhat detached from real-world defensive pistolcraft, It remains great fun, though.

Cooper is a serious student of the rifle, and a big game hunter of considerable experience both in this country and in Africa. He has developed two designs that he feels will cover most of the practical applications to which the rifle may be put in the field. The first is the "scout rifle," a light, handy general-purpose piece meant to be suitable both for most big game hunting and as a lone scout/sniper's weapon in war.

Cooper the hunter posed with "Baby," his ironsighted .460 G&A cal. wildcat on the Brno ZKK 602 bolt action, during his 1990 Botswana safari.

Chambered usually in .308 Win, the scout rifle's most obvious feature is a low-power scope sight mounted low with its ocular lens just ahead of the action port. This enables the shooter to see around it, gaining in effect an unobstructed field of view, gives unhindered access to the action and permits the use of stripper clips.

The other concept is a crumpler for large, dangerous game, nicknamed Baby after Sir Samuel Baker's fearsome child of a cannon that threw a half-pound explosive shell. It is a short, heavy, extended-magazine bolt-action (preferably the Brno ZKK 602) fitted with a ghost-ring aperture sight and chambered to the .460 G&A wildcat cartridge.

Based on the .404 Jeffery case, this round propels a 500-gr. bullet to 2400 f.p.s. from a 21" barrel, and I have no doubt it will do an expeditious job on anything if directed properly. Cooper used Baby to crumple up a great buffalo bull in Botswana on his 70th birthday.

The American Pistol Institute at Gunsite has been a very successful shooting school, with up to 700 students a year. In the past, students received part of their instruction from Jeff Cooper. This is no longer the case.

Testing himself once again, Cooper shot his Cape buffalo at nine paces on his 70th birthday, May 10, 1990.

Having passed his three-score-and-ten, Cooper says he wanted to divest himself of some of the day-to-day chores of running Gunsite. Thus, Gunsite was sold early last year to a former student and instructor with the understanding, according to Cooper, that he would remain in chargein other words he would sell the ship but stay on as skipper. I know of a couple of instances where that sort of arrangement has worked out, but mostly it does not.

Gunsite, says Cooper, allowed him to teach what he believed in, and to make self-defense techniques available to all who deserved them. Besides, it was fun, and what he wanted to do. He now regards the sale as mistake.

A man of many parts is Jeff Cooper, apart from being the guru of the combat pistol, warrior (as all true men are at bottom), Marine officer, spook, swordsman, bon vivant, historian, scholar, adjunct professor of police science, connoisseur of fast cars, expert rifleman and big game hunter, adventurer (peril not varietyis the true spice of life), philosopher, NRA director, a superb writer and author with a wonderful command of the language, father and grandfather, husband to one of the most gracious, charming and delightful of ladies (doubt not her core of steel, though else how could she have managed Jeff for more than 50 years?), a seeker of excellence whose creed is Honor, Duty, Country, a man with a great gusto for life, and, perhaps above all, a teacher.

He is a strong-willed person who expresses his opinions confidently, defends them with verve and erudition in debate, suffers not fools, and scorns political correctness. Consequently he has deeply offended some people, mostly of the left. On the other hand, he has also attracted an almost cultist group of true believers for whom his every pronouncement is The Word. I am not one of them.

Cooper is a very human man, and thus by definition grievously prone to sin and error (I will wager, though, that he is right more often than most of his detractors). I disagree with Cooper about many things, such as the comparative effectiveness of various cartridges and bullets, magazine cut-offs, the best form of shooting sling, and other matters. But these are trivial; when it comes to values, philosophies of life, what is a man, and what the Republic should stand for, we are on the same side. Warts and all I like and admire Cooper a lot.

Be all that as it may, he is truly the father of the modern technique of the pistol. Others helped evolve itand it continues to evolvebut he put it all together, promoted it, and taught it. No one since Samuel Colt has had a greater impact on practical pistolcraft than Col. Jeff Cooper.

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Jeff Cooper: The Man Behind the 'Modern Technique' - American Rifleman

No one is safe from the puritanical poison of wokeness says SIR JOHN HAYES – Express

After all, student high jinx is par for the course. Yet in fact, the decision to exclude a former Cabinet Minister is part of a dark mission to destroy the essence of democracy freedom of speech.The sinister missionaries hand was evident again in the suspension of Trevor Phillips by the Labour Party and in a campaign by Guardian newspaper staff against their own columnist Suzanne Moore. In both these cases the targeted individuals appear to be guilty of nothing more than stating what to most of us is glaringly obvious. In Phillips' case his crime was to draw attention to the fact that members of vile paedophile gangs in Northern cities were of Pakistani Muslim origin, in the case of Moore she simply pointed out that being a woman is a biological fact, not a lifestyle choice. That Phillips, a brave crusader against racism as founding Chairman of the Equalities Commission, can be branded an Islamaphobe and Moore, a leading feminist writer, as transphobic should be a warning to us all - no one is safe from the puritanical poison of politically correct wokeness.

Too many leading institutions have, in effect, been taken over by an intolerant left wing elite who regard any viewpoint other than their own as unacceptable. Once, most academics put aside their personal political views to provide students with a balanced education. Today, much of academia has become the most narrow-minded branch of the liberal establishment. Consequently, it is increasingly difficult for academics with anything other than liberal left views to survive. A survey at the time of the 2017 election found that just 7 percent of university staff intended to vote Conservative. My friend, the late, great political philosopher Sir Roger Scruton recalled that when he taught at Birkbeck College, he was the only conservative there, apart from the lady who served meals in the Senior Common Room. Sir Roger was for years denied the recognition he deserved by the academic establishment.

Much of the student body is affected too, with young minds dulled by the simplistic dictums of political correctness. Which is why many student societies have become vehicles of cultural oppression, at best marginalising and at worst vilifying views that offend snowflake undergraduates. Presumably, university authorities are either complicit or complacent.

The dominance of the liberal establishment is aided and abetted by the echo-camber of social media, which has spawned a new form of ugly discourse where everything is understood through the prism of identity. It has become commonplace for someone to preface a statement with qualifications like as a member of a certain ethnic group, as a gay man or transgender female. As such statements are so ubiquitous we have become numb to just how disturbing they really are. Identity has become the ultimate arbiter of opinion. This is the triumph of relativism; of the ego over discussion, of opinion over knowledge. We live in an era where the national conversation is so degraded that, for wokes, it is acceptable to deny a speaker a platform simply on the grounds that what they have to say, even when evidentially based, might possibly make someone in the audience feel uncomfortable.

For most of us, busy with work and family lives, such issues may appear marginal. But in practice, the way debate is increasingly shut down, with speakers no platformed and books denied publication, should worry us all. It represents the ruthless exercise of power by the few over the many. Although the result of the General Election last December demonstrates that most people reject the woke agenda of the left, it does not mean that the culture war is won. Far from it, the liberal left elite are in control of almost all our leading cultural institutions, including the BBC, and are using their power to influence how people think. Even television adaptations of Agatha Christie mysteries now routinely come with an unsavory dose of political correctness and liberal moralizing. No element of our culture is safe.

The announcement that the government is considering legislation to strengthen free speech in universities is a welcome start, but no more than a beginning. Whilst institutions can be legally forced to allow certain speakers, legislation alone will not weaken the dominance of an ideology that vilifies those who dare to think for themselves. The only way lasting change can be made is by redistributing the power of the liberal establishment. The Government must proactively ensure that all appointments made to cultural bodies play a part in bringing about a greater range of views more in keeping with the sentiments of hard-working patriots. Perhaps communal panels of workers supported by worthy local organisations could vet applicants. Such an approach would leave the left up-in-arms because they know that it would give a voice to the voiceless and power to the powerless.

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No one is safe from the puritanical poison of wokeness says SIR JOHN HAYES - Express

Listing the pros and cons of the post-coronavirus era – Indian Link

Itsthe dawn of the PC era, folks.

No,Im not talking about the Personal Computer era. Thats some four decades old,and our life is now run by said electronic device(s).

Thisis not about Political Correctness either, which has dramatically altered ourtolerance and attitude for better or worse, depending on who you talk to.

Andno this is definitely not about actor Priyanka Chopra, fondly referred to asPeeCee by industry colleagues (and by the paparazzi who rush behind herscreaming Pissy Pissy).

Thisis about the Post Corona era.

Thepretty looking microbe that is bulldozing the bull market and badgering thebudgets of nations, has left everyone wondering what lies in its aftermath.Many futuristic scenarios have been depicted by scientists, economists,politicians, even stand-up comedians. Heres my two bobs worth.

PChas Pros and Cons in heaps.

Pro: The environment is the biggest winner. Companies that ask employeesto work from home find it profitable, with reduced overheads like rent, power,insurance etc, and may even embrace it permanently. This will lead to fewercars on the roads and less air pollution. The loser will be Greta, nay, chota,Thunberg and her teeny-weeny followers flunking school on Fridays. Back toschool, girls and boys, the climate is ok.

Con: With millions of jobs gone, commercial complexes lie vacant, fewertowers built and less construction work overall. Every cloud hath a silverlining. These empty buildings may come handy when the next virus breaks out(God, oops, China forbid), to be used as temporary hospitals. Or converted intoaffordable apartments or even as haven for the homeless.

Pro: With our universities offering courses online to overseas studentsdue to restrictions on their return, many of them prefer to stay home andreceive their education at less cost. This may obviate the need for theirparents to grab properties off the market, reducing real estate values andhelping Aussies buy their first homes. At (private) school, the launch of onlineeducation will render obsolete the constant need for new buildings; therell beno excuse therefore to fleece parents for donations year after year.

Con: Social distancing may spike the consumption of alcohol, causing ablow-out in obesity. With no work to go to and time on hand, a baby boom islikely.

Pro (followed by Con): With over a million newly unemployed willing totake up any work at lower wages, some entrepreneurs may consider starting newventures creating a resurgence in manufacturing. Will Holden come back? Donthold your hopes high though. Now is a wake-up call to stop the gallopingglobalisation that has led the world to depend on single sources of supply.

Pro? Con? China-badgers have had a field day asking why theresbeen no Beijing blockade or Shanghai shut-down. How come COVID-19 hasnttouched Russia next door, or battered its all-weather ally Pak? Has Imran hitthe virus for a six? Did Kim Jong-un fire his missiles to drive the demon away?Was it indeed, a plot to bring down western economy??

Con: On the lighter side, the Crown it seems is no cover against the corona (poor Charles). The corona can even down a Downing St prime resident.

Pro: About the face mask, were all realising now why our Jain munis weresuch visionaries. Today though, creative advertising gurus have millions ofmouthpieces as canvases to convey their messages. In true in your face style,I might add. I would advocate for smiley emojis, to cheer the current depressedlot. How about this slogan: I am OK. Hope you are too? to convey empathy tofellow maskers. Footy clubs will follow suit to issue masks in club colours hopefullytheyll muffle the barracking and the out-of-tune and drunken singing.

Pro: The five-guest wedding will be a welcome new social phenomenon (andnot just for the brides parents who usually have to foot the bill for thewedding party). The guests will typically include the bride, the groom, the priestand the brides parents. No room for the brides mother-in-law: that categoryof humans has been weeded out because too many of them have been dowry demandingdemons in the past.

Ultimate Pro: My personal favourite is ScoMos specification of four square meters of personal space. I have drawn lines in my living room to keep my other half at a safe distance. Absolute domestic peace now. You beaut, oh Wuhan virus!

Disclaimer: This piece was written on my old Smith Corona typewriter, as my laptop has had a virus attack. At least my old Corona is sanitised and safe.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: A world of new realities

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Listing the pros and cons of the post-coronavirus era - Indian Link

Jamaat campaign against India led to US hearings, resolutions on Kashmir – indica News

Aarti Tikoo Singh-

Two Islamic charities, linked to the banned Islamist outfit Jamaat-e-Islami, ran a persistent disinformation campaign against India leading to hearings and resolutions on Kashmir in the US Congress last year.

IANS investigation has alleged that Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) and its self-described sister organization Helping Hands for Relief and Development (HHRD) were at the forefront of running campaigns in the US against New Delhi after the government revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and brought the state at par with union territories of India, last year on August 5.

Documentary evidence accessed by IANS reveals that both ICNA and its sister organization HHRD are affiliated to Jamaat-e-Islami, the pan-Islamic fundamentalist organization which India banned last year after a Jaish-e-Mohammad suicide bomber killed over 40 paramilitary soldiers in a terror attack in February 2019.

The Jamaat was proscribed for five years under anti-terror law on the grounds that it was in cahoots with terror outfits in Kashmir to strengthen the Pakistan-sponsored violent separatist militancy in the valley.

After Article 370 (which granted special status to J&K) was nullified, the US-based ICNA and HHRD along with other Islamic groups ran Stand With Kashmir a red dot logo campaign, using the same handle on Twitter. Under the banner Stand With Kashmir, they together led a protest in front of the consulate General of India in New York four days and a similar protest in Los Angeles.

Two more protest rallies were held in August last year, one in Sacramento, California and another one outside the Indian embassy in Washington. Both were sponsored by the ICNA among others like Pakistan American Association of Sacramento, Pakistan American Sports and Cultural Organisation, Turkish American National Steering Committee and Islamic Society.

ICNA also published Kashmiri Crisis: A Complete Guide, handouts and a sample of Congressional letter in its campaign in alignment with Pakistans position on Kashmir.

In September, ICNA hosted a benefit dinner for its activists on Kashmir at Islamic Center of Conejo Valley, to raise funds. A few days later, the organization along with CAIR and Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC) announced to hold a protest rally in the last week of September.

As per media reports, President of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) Sardar Masood Khan soon after, urged Muslim across the world to stand united and relieve Muslim Ummah of agonies and asked ICNA and United States Coalition of Muslim Organisations (USCMO) to engage lawmakers in encouraging hearings on Kashmir in the US House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and initiate debates on Kashmir in the Congress.

Apart from organizing another fundraising dinner for Kashmir, the twin organizations in November helped install a billboard on Kashmir in Michigan and asked Muslims across the US to send a letter to Congress Representative Eliot Engel in support of a resolution sponsored by Pramila Jayapal on Kashmir.

The result of the sustained campaign against India was that not only did the US House Foreign Affairs Committee held at least two hearings on Kashmir, but Pramila Jayapal and Rashida Tlaib, introduced and unsuccessfully attempted to pass two resolutions against India over Kashmir in the US Congress.

None of the HHRD-ICNA protests against India mentioned that Pakistan sponsored terror outfits especially, its own parent organization Jamaat-e-Islamis armed wing Hizbul which has killed thousands of Muslims in the last three decades in Kashmir.

Founded by Maulana Maududi in 1941 during the British rule in India, Jamaat became one of the major religious organizations in Pakistan, which also participated in the genocide of Bangladeshi Muslims in 1971. With the help of Pakistani Army and ISI, Jamaat set up its militant wing, Hizbul Mujahideen terror outfit in Kashmir in 1989. The US government has designated the head of Jamaat-affiliated Hizbul chief Syed Salahuddin based in Pakistan, a global terrorist.

Despite Jamaats violent background, its fronts in the US ICNA and HHRD enjoy partnerships with the government, politicians and journalists, and funding from prominent charitable foundations. The two Islamic charities have been actively lobbying with the US Congress with the express purpose of stopping any investigation into their terror finance ties to Kashmiri terror groups, a source in the US Congress said.

An expert on Muslim reform movements and author of several books, US-based Asra Nomani told IANS that for over five decades, since the 1960s, Jamaat-e-Islami has exported its disturbing ideology of political Islam from its base in South Asia to the US and beyond, through organizations, including ICNA.

Since the 9/11 attack, Jamaat and its fronts have penetrated even deeper into the political lobbying industry of the United States, working in concert with their fundamentalist Muslim allies in the West, including the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

Together, these organizations make up Islamism Inc., or political Islam, and their goal is very simple: to deny the reality of extremist ideologies within Islam, promote Islam in governance and cast themselves as victims.

In recent years, Nomani said, they have won growing influence in the Democratic Party in the US, exploiting identity politics, political correctness and virtue signaling, to win congressional hearings, legislative resolutions and political pandering to their interests.

They have their sights on India, running conferences, workshops, social media hashtag campaigns and political drives to demonize India, its secular governance, its political leadership and quite frankly its Hindu majority.

The best inoculation to their impact is to understand clearly that this networks goal is Muslim supremacy. For India, the answer is not to respond with another form of religious supremacy but rather the supremacy of the reality of India as a beautiful, secular nation, she said.

[Photo courtesy:Facebook]

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Jamaat campaign against India led to US hearings, resolutions on Kashmir - indica News

What Is Political Correctness? Definition, Pros, and Cons

Political correctness is the process of speaking without offending anyone. Love it or hate it, what was once considered simple good manners, has become far more involved, and frankly, controversial. Exactly what is political correctness, where did it come from, and why do we love to argue about it?

The term political correctness describes written or spoken language that's intentionally phrased to avoid offending or marginalizing groups identified by certain social characteristics, such as race, gender, sexual orientation, or ability. Beyond the obvious avoidance of overt slurs, political correctness also includes the avoidance of terms that reinforce preconceived negative stereotypes. The elimination of verbal discrimination is often considered one of the main goals of political correctness.

Since the 1980s, the increasing demand for political correctness has been alternately praised, criticized, and satirized by commentators from all corners of the political spectrum. The term is sometimes applied derisively in order to ridicule the idea that language is capable of changeor that the publics perceptions and prejudices against certain groups can change through language.

Among the more subtle forms of political correctness is the avoidance of the use of microaggressionsbrief off-hand comments or actions that either intentionally or unintentionally express negative prejudicial slights toward any marginalized or minority group. For example, telling an Asian-American student, You people always get good grades, while possibly meant as a compliment, may be taken as a microaggressive slur.

A relatively new form of being politically correct is to avoid mansplaining. A combination of man and explaining, mansplaining is a form of political incorrectness in which men marginalize women by attempting to explain something to themoften unnecessarilyin a condescending, oversimplified, or childlike manner.

In the United States, the term politically correct first appeared in 1793, when it was used in the U.S. Supreme Courts decision in the case of Chisholm v. Georgia dealing with the rights of state citizens to sue state governments in U.S. federal courts. During the 1920s, the term was used in political discussions between American communists and socialists to refer to a strict, almost dogmatic, adherence to the Soviet Unions Communist Party doctrine, which socialists considered to be the correct position in all political issues.

The term was first used sarcastically during the late 1970s and early 1980s by moderate-to-liberal politicians to refer to the stance of extreme left-wing liberals on some issues considered by the moderates to be frivolous or of little actual importance to their causes. In the early 1990s, conservatives had begun using political correctness in a pejorative manner criticizing the teaching and advocacy of what they considered left-wing liberal ideology gone wild in U.S. colleges, universities, and liberal-leaning media.

In May 1991, then U.S. President George H.W. Bush used the term when he told the graduating class of the University of Michigan that, The notion of political correctness has ignited controversy across the land. And although the movement arises from the laudable desire to sweep away the debris of racism and sexism and hatred, it replaces old prejudice with new ones. It declares certain topics off-limits, certain expression off-limits, and even certain gestures off-limits.

Today, PC culturea theoretical purely politically correct societyis most commonly associated with movements such as gender-based bias, gay rights, and ethnic minority advocacy. For example, the PC culture prefers that the terms spokesman or spokeswoman, be replaced by the gender-neutral term spokesperson. However, the PC culture is not limited to social or political causes. To promote religious tolerance, Merry Christmas becomes Happy Holidays, and a demand for simple empathy asks that mental retardation be replaced with intellectual disability.

In December 1990, Newsweek magazine summarized conservatives concerns by equating the PC culture to a sort of a modern Orwellian thought police in an article asking, Is This the New Enlightenment or the New McCarthyism? However, it was Dinesh D'Souza's 1998 book Illiberal Education: The Politics of Race and Sex on Campus that first caused the general public to question the benefits, motives, and sociological effects of the political correctness movement.

Advocates of the process of political correctness argue that our perception of other people is greatly influenced by the language we hear used about them. Language, therefore, when used carelessly or maliciously, can reveal and promote our biases against various identity groups. In this manner, the strict use of politically correct language helps to prevent the marginalization and social exclusion of those groups.

Persons opposed to political correctness regard it as a form of censorship that quashes freedom of speech and dangerously restricts public debate on important social issues. They further accuse advocates of an extreme PC culture of creating offensive language where none had existed before. Others argue that the very term political correctness can be used in ways that can actually hinder attempts to stop hate and discriminatory speech.

Opponents point to a 2016 Pew Research Center survey which showed that 59 percent of Americans felt too many people are easily offended these days over the language that others use. According to Pew, while most people naturally try to avoid using language that offends others, extreme examples of politically correct terms tend to devalue the English language and lead to confusion.

Finally, those opposed to political correctness argue that telling people that it is socially wrong for them to express their feelings and beliefs in certain ways will not make those feelings and beliefs go away. Sexism, for example, will not end by simply referring to salesmen and saleswomen as salespersons. Similarly, referring to the homeless as temporarily displaced will not create jobs or wipe out poverty.

While some people might swallow their politically incorrect words, they will not abandon the feelings that motivated them. Instead, they will hold those feelings inside to fester and become even more toxic and harmful.

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What Is Political Correctness? Definition, Pros, and Cons

The Origins of Political Correctness – Accuracy In Academia

An Accuracy in Academia Address by Bill Lind. Variations of this speech have been delivered to various AIA conferences including the 2000 Conservative University at American University

If you enjoy this speech, keep up with political correctness and how it continues to emerge on college campuses by following our Faculty Lounge blog.

Where does all this stuff that youve heard about this morning the victim feminism, the gay rights movement, the invented statistics, the rewritten history, the lies, the demands, all the rest of it where does it come from? For the first time in our history, Americans have to be fearful of what they say, of what they write, and of what they think. They have to be afraid of using the wrong word, a word denounced as offensive or insensitive, or racist, sexist, or homophobic.

We have seen other countries, particularly in this century, where this has been the case. And we have always regarded them with a mixture of pity, and to be truthful, some amusement, because it has struck us as so strange that people would allow a situation to develop where they would be afraid of what words they used. But we now have this situation in this country. We have it primarily on college campuses, but it is spreading throughout the whole society. Were does it come from? What is it?

We call it Political Correctness. The name originated as something of a joke, literally in a comic strip, and we tend still to think of it as only half-serious. In fact, its deadly serious. It is the great disease of our century, the disease that has left tens of millions of people dead in Europe, in Russia, in China, indeed around the world. It is the disease of ideology. PC is not funny. PC is deadly serious.

If we look at it analytically, if we look at it historically, we quickly find out exactly what it is. Political Correctness is cultural Marxism. It is Marxism translated from economic into cultural terms. It is an effort that goes back not to the 1960s and the hippies and the peace movement, but back to World War I. If we compare the basic tenets of Political Correctness with classical Marxism the parallels are very obvious.

First of all, both are totalitarian ideologies. The totalitarian nature of Political Correctness is revealed nowhere more clearly than on college campuses, many of which at this point are small ivy covered North Koreas, where the student or faculty member who dares to cross any of the lines set up by the gender feminist or the homosexual-rights activists, or the local black or Hispanic group, or any of the other sainted victims groups that PC revolves around, quickly find themselves in judicial trouble. Within the small legal system of the college, they face formal charges some star-chamber proceeding and punishment. That is a little look into the future that Political Correctness intends for the nation as a whole.

Indeed, all ideologies are totalitarian because the essence of an ideology (I would note that conservatism correctly understood is not an ideology) is to take some philosophy and say on the basis of this philosophy certain things must be true such as the whole of the history of our culture is the history of the oppression of women. Since reality contradicts that, reality must be forbidden. It must become forbidden to acknowledge the reality of our history. People must be forced to live a lie, and since people are naturally reluctant to live a lie, they naturally use their ears and eyes to look out and say, Wait a minute. This isnt true. I can see it isnt true, the power of the state must be put behind the demand to live a lie. That is why ideology invariably creates a totalitarian state.

Second, the cultural Marxism of Political Correctness, like economic Marxism, has a single factor explanation of history. Economic Marxism says that all of history is determined by ownership of means of production. Cultural Marxism, or Political Correctness, says that all history is determined by power, by which groups defined in terms of race, sex, etc., have power over which other groups. Nothing else matters. All literature, indeed, is about that. Everything in the past is about that one thing.

Third, just as in classical economic Marxism certain groups, i.e. workers and peasants, are a priori good, and other groups, i.e., the bourgeoisie and capital owners, are evil. In the cultural Marxism of Political Correctness certain groups are good feminist women, (only feminist women, non-feminist women are deemed not to exist) blacks, Hispanics, homosexuals. These groups are determined to be victims, and therefore automatically good regardless of what any of them do. Similarly, white males are determined automatically to be evil, thereby becoming the equivalent of the bourgeoisie in economic Marxism.

Fourth, both economic and cultural Marxism rely on expropriation. When the classical Marxists, the communists, took over a country like Russia, they expropriated the bourgeoisie, they took away their property. Similarly, when the cultural Marxists take over a university campus, they expropriate through things like quotas for admissions. When a white student with superior qualifications is denied admittance to a college in favor of a black or Hispanic who isnt as well qualified, the white student is expropriated. And indeed, affirmative action, in our whole society today, is a system of expropriation. White owned companies dont get a contract because the contract is reserved for a company owned by, say, Hispanics or women. So expropriation is a principle tool for both forms of Marxism.

And finally, both have a method of analysis that automatically gives the answers they want. For the classical Marxist, its Marxist economics. For the cultural Marxist, its deconstruction. Deconstruction essentially takes any text, removes all meaning from it and re-inserts any meaning desired. So we find, for example, that all of Shakespeare is about the suppression of women, or the Bible is really about race and gender. All of these texts simply become grist for the mill, which proves that all history is about which groups have power over which other groups. So the parallels are very evident between the classical Marxism that were familiar with in the old Soviet Union and the cultural Marxism that we see today as Political Correctness.

But the parallels are not accidents. The parallels did not come from nothing. The fact of the matter is that Political Correctness has a history, a history that is much longer than many people are aware of outside a small group of academics who have studied this. And the history goes back, as I said, to World War I, as do so many of the pathologies that are today bringing our society, and indeed our culture, down.

Marxist theory said that when the general European war came (as it did come in Europe in 1914), the working class throughout Europe would rise up and overthrow their governments the bourgeois governments because the workers had more in common with each other across the national boundaries than they had in common with the bourgeoisie and the ruling class in their own country. Well, 1914 came and it didnt happen. Throughout Europe, workers rallied to their flag and happily marched off to fight each other. The Kaiser shook hands with the leaders of the Marxist Social Democratic Party in Germany and said there are no parties now, there are only Germans. And this happened in every country in Europe. So something was wrong.

Marxists knew by definition it couldnt be the theory. In 1917, they finally got a Marxist coup in Russia and it looked like the theory was working, but it stalled again. It didnt spread and when attempts were made to spread immediately after the war, with the Spartacist uprising in Berlin, with the Bela Kun government in Hungary, with the Munich Soviet, the workers didnt support them.

So the Marxists had a problem. And two Marxist theorists went to work on it: Antonio Gramsci in Italy and Georg Lukacs in Hungary. Gramsci said the workers will never see their true class interests, as defined by Marxism, until they are freed from Western culture, and particularly from the Christian religion that they are blinded by culture and religion to their true class interests. Lukacs, who was considered the most brilliant Marxist theorist since Marx himself, said in 1919, Who will save us from Western Civilization? He also theorized that the great obstacle to the creation of a Marxist paradise was the culture: Western civilization itself.

Lukacs gets a chance to put his ideas into practice, because when the home grown Bolshevik Bela Kun government is established in Hungary in 1919, he becomes deputy commissar for culture, and the first thing he did was introduce sex education into the Hungarian schools. This ensured that the workers would not support the Bela Kun government, because the Hungarian people looked at this aghast, workers as well as everyone else. But he had already made the connection that today many of us are still surprised by, that we would consider the latest thing.

In 1923 in Germany, a think-tank is established that takes on the role of translating Marxism from economic into cultural terms, that creates Political Correctness as we know it today, and essentially it has created the basis for it by the end of the 1930s. This comes about because the very wealthy young son of a millionaire German trader by the name of Felix Weil has become a Marxist and has lots of money to spend. He is disturbed by the divisions among the Marxists, so he sponsors something called the First Marxist Work Week, where he brings Lukacs and many of the key German thinkers together for a week, working on the differences of Marxism.

And he says, What we need is a think-tank. Washington is full of think tanks and we think of them as very modern. In fact they go back quite a ways. He endows an institute, associated with Frankfurt University, established in 1923, that was originally supposed to be known as the Institute for Marxism. But the people behind it decided at the beginning that it was not to their advantage to be openly identified as Marxist. The last thing Political Correctness wants is for people to figure out its a form of Marxism. So instead they decide to name it the Institute for Social Research.

Weil is very clear about his goals. In 1917, he wrote to Martin Jay the author of a principle book on the Frankfurt School, as the Institute for Social Research soon becomes known informally, and he said, I wanted the institute to become known, perhaps famous, due to its contributions to Marxism. Well, he was successful. The first director of the Institute, Carl Grunberg, an Austrian economist, concluded his opening address, according to Martin Jay, by clearly stating his personal allegiance to Marxism as a scientific methodology. Marxism, he said, would be the ruling principle at the Institute, and that never changed.The initial work at the Institute was rather conventional, but in 1930 it acquired a new director named Max Horkheimer, and Horkheimers views were very different. He was very much a Marxist renegade. The people who create and form the Frankfurt School are renegade Marxists. Theyre still very much Marxist in their thinking, but theyre effectively run out of the party. Moscow looks at what they are doing and says, Hey, this isnt us, and were not going to bless this.

Horkheimers initial heresy is that he is very interested in Freud, and the key to making the translation of Marxism from economic into cultural terms is essentially that he combined it with Freudism. Again, Martin Jay writes, If it can be said that in the early years of its history, the Institute concerned itself primarily with an analysis of bourgeois societys socio-economic sub-structure, and I point out that Jay is very sympathetic to the Frankfurt School, Im not reading from a critic here in the years after 1930 its primary interests lay in its cultural superstructure. Indeed the traditional Marxist formula regarding the relationship between the two was brought into question by Critical Theory.

The stuff weve been hearing about this morning the radical feminism, the womens studies departments, the gay studies departments, the black studies departments all these things are branches of Critical Theory. What the Frankfurt School essentially does is draw on both Marx and Freud in the 1930s to create this theory called Critical Theory. The term is ingenious because youre tempted to ask, What is the theory? The theory is to criticize. The theory is that the way to bring down Western culture and the capitalist order is not to lay down an alternative. They explicitly refuse to do that. They say it cant be done, that we cant imagine what a free society would look like (their definition of a free society). As long as were living under repression the repression of a capitalistic economic order which creates (in their theory) the Freudian condition, the conditions that Freud describes in individuals of repression we cant even imagine it. What Critical Theory is about is simply criticizing. It calls for the most destructive criticism possible, in every possible way, designed to bring the current order down. And, of course, when we hear from the feminists that the whole of society is just out to get women and so on, that kind of criticism is a derivative of Critical Theory. It is all coming from the 1930s, not the 1960s.

Other key members who join up around this time are Theodore Adorno, and, most importantly, Erich Fromm and Herbert Marcuse. Fromm and Marcuse introduce an element which is central to Political Correctness, and thats the sexual element. And particularly Marcuse, who in his own writings calls for a society of polymorphous perversity, that is his definition of the future of the world that they want to create. Marcuse in particular by the 1930s is writing some very extreme stuff on the need for sexual liberation, but this runs through the whole Institute. So do most of the themes we see in Political Correctness, again in the early 30s. In Fromms view, masculinity and femininity were not reflections of essential sexual differences, as the Romantics had thought. They were derived instead from differences in life functions, which were in part socially determined. Sex is a construct; sexual differences are a construct.

Another example is the emphasis we now see on environmentalism. Materialism as far back as Hobbes had led to a manipulative dominating attitude toward nature. That was Horkhemier writing in 1933 in Materialismus und Moral. The theme of mans domination of nature, according to Jay, was to become a central concern of the Frankfurt School in subsequent years. Horkheimers antagonism to the fetishization of labor, (heres were theyre obviously departing from Marxist orthodoxy) expressed another dimension of his materialism, the demand for human, sensual happiness. In one of his most trenchant essays, Egoism and the Movement for Emancipation, written in 1936, Horkeimer discussed the hostility to personal gratification inherent in bourgeois culture. And he specifically referred to the Marquis de Sade, favorably, for his protestagainst asceticism in the name of a higher morality.

How does all of this stuff flood in here? How does it flood into our universities, and indeed into our lives today? The members of the Frankfurt School are Marxist, they are also, to a man, Jewish. In 1933 the Nazis came to power in Germany, and not surprisingly they shut down the Institute for Social Research. And its members fled. They fled to New York City, and the Institute was reestablished there in 1933 with help from Columbia University. And the members of the Institute, gradually through the 1930s, though many of them remained writing in German, shift their focus from Critical Theory about German society, destructive criticism about every aspect of that society, to Critical Theory directed toward American society. There is another very important transition when the war comes. Some of them go to work for the government, including Herbert Marcuse, who became a key figure in the OSS (the predecessor to the CIA), and some, including Horkheimer and Adorno, move to Hollywood.

These origins of Political Correctness would probably not mean too much to us today except for two subsequent events. The first was the student rebellion in the mid-1960s, which was driven largely by resistance to the draft and the Vietnam War. But the student rebels needed theory of some sort. They couldnt just get out there and say, Hell no we wont go, they had to have some theoretical explanation behind it. Very few of them were interested in wading through Das Kapital. Classical, economic Marxism is not light, and most of the radicals of the 60s were not deep. Fortunately for them, and unfortunately for our country today, and not just in the university, Herbert Marcuse remained in America when the Frankfurt School relocated back to Frankfurt after the war. And whereas Mr. Adorno in Germany is appalled by the student rebellion when it breaks out there when the student rebels come into Adornos classroom, he calls the police and has them arrested Herbert Marcuse, who remained here, saw the 60s student rebellion as the great chance. He saw the opportunity to take the work of the Frankfurt School and make it the theory of the New Left in the United States.

One of Marcuses books was the key book. It virtually became the bible of the SDS and the student rebels of the 60s. That book was Eros and Civilization. Marcuse argues that under a capitalistic order (he downplays the Marxism very strongly here, it is subtitled, A Philosophical Inquiry into Freud, but the framework is Marxist), repression is the essence of that order and that gives us the person Freud describes the person with all the hang-ups, the neuroses, because his sexual instincts are repressed. We can envision a future, if we can only destroy this existing oppressive order, in which we liberate eros, we liberate libido, in which we have a world of polymorphous perversity, in which you can do you own thing. And by the way, in that world there will no longer be work, only play. What a wonderful message for the radicals of the mid-60s! Theyre students, theyre baby-boomers, and theyve grown up never having to worry about anything except eventually having to get a job. And here is a guy writing in a way they can easily follow. He doesnt require them to read a lot of heavy Marxism and tells them everything they want to hear which is essentially, Do your own thing, If it feels good do it, and You never have to go to work. By the way, Marcuse is also the man who creates the phrase, Make love, not war. Coming back to the situation people face on campus, Marcuse defines liberating tolerance as intolerance for anything coming from the Right and tolerance for anything coming from the Left. Marcuse joined the Frankfurt School, in 1932 (if I remember right). So, all of this goes back to the 1930s.

In conclusion, America today is in the throes of the greatest and direst transformation in its history. We are becoming an ideological state, a country with an official state ideology enforced by the power of the state. In hate crimes we now have people serving jail sentences for political thoughts. And the Congress is now moving to expand that category ever further. Affirmative action is part of it. The terror against anyone who dissents from Political Correctness on campus is part of it. Its exactly what we have seen happen in Russia, in Germany, in Italy, in China, and now its coming here. And we dont recognize it because we call it Political Correctness and laugh it off. My message today is that its not funny, its here, its growing and it will eventually destroy, as it seeks to destroy, everything that we have ever defined as our freedom and our culture.

More here:

The Origins of Political Correctness - Accuracy In Academia

Political Correctness Is An Absolute Must | Time

The Republican Convention has barely begun, and the party has already made clear its primary political foe. Of course potshots will be taken at the mainstream media, liberals and Hillary Clinton. But what did several of last nights convention speakersfrom Duck Dynastys Willie Robertson to Real Worlds Sean Duffyregard as the real enemy? Political correctness.

You might have heard: America is plagued by political correctness run amok. We were told this by Donald Trumps former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, when he tried to defend his old boss for tweeting an anti-Semitic Internet meme depicting a Star of David atop a pile of cash. The origins of that meme were recently discovered to be a message board of neo-Nazis and white supremacists who presumably agree with Lewandowski. After all, they titled their message board, Politically Incorrect.

We were told by Republicans, after the hideous, hate-fueled mass shooting by an ISIS-idolizing lunatic in Orlando, easy access to guns was not even partly to blame. Then what was? Political correctness! According to the logic of a top NRA official, who was widely parroted by Republican lawmakers, the Obama administrations political correctness prevented anything from being done about the shooters racist ramblings.

When the elephant ate its own tail, and members of his own party panned Trump for exploiting the tragedy with offensive and egomaniacal tweets, we were told the criticism was misplaced. The real culprit? We cant afford to be politically correct anymore, said Trump.

Political correctness has been a whipping boy of the right wing for decades, and lately Trump is cracking the whip with abandon. He recently told a group of evangelical leaders that they shouldnt pray for President Obama because We cant be politically correct and say we pray for all of our leaders, because all of your leaders are selling Christianity down the tubes. (Never mind that Trump places prayer within the scope of self-interested transactions.) Remember his response to Fox host Megyn Kelly when she asked him about his temperament after calling some women dogs and fat pigs? It was: I think the big problem this country has is being politically correct. After being skewered by all sides for racist comments about a federal judge? We have to stop being so politically correct in this country.

If youre like many Americans, you might have been persuaded political correctness is one of our countrys primary problems. Trump badly wants you to believe this, but youd be wrong to do so. Trump is effectively positioning himself as the anti-PC candidate. Whereas Hillary Clinton thinks and speaks in the strategicand sometimes subtlelanguage of diplomacy, Trump explicitly proposes himself as undiplomatic and politically incorrect. In doing so, he is cheapening and polarizing our political debates and, more important, he is making our country less safe.

You might think politicians speak in too much coded language, designed to cloak their true positions and to avoid offending everyone. But lets be clear: The opposite of political correctness is not unvarnished truth-telling. It is political expression that is careless toward the beliefs and attitudes different than ones own. In its more extreme fashion, it is incivility, indecency or vulgarity. These are the true alternatives to political correctness. These are the traits that Trump tacitly touts when he criticizes political correctness. And these are the essential attributes of Trumps candidacy.

This is not the first time our political discourse has been crass. When he traveled to the United States fifty years after the nation gained its independence, the French writer Alexis de Tocqueville noticed a vulgar turn of mind among American journalists. Journalists back in France often wrote in an eloquent and lofty manner but, according to Tocqueville, the typical American journalist made an open and coarse appeal to the passions of the populace; and he habitually abandons the principles of political science to assail the characters of individuals. Sound familiar? This vulgarity might have been characteristic of that eras journalists, who brazenly competed for readers and hadnt yet developed common standards of professionalism and ethics. But it wasnt characteristic of the types of Americans who sought the nations highest political office.

Trumps vulgarity is so vivid, in part, because it contrasts so starkly with Barack Obamas civility and cool-headedness. I predict that the more Trump debases our political climate with his brand of political incorrectness, the more we will come to appreciate the qualities our president embodies. Regular Obama critic David Brooks recently praised the president for his ethos of integrity, humanity, good manners and elegance. Yet when the president challenges us to disagree without being disagreeable and to be careful not to conflate an entire religion with the hateful ideology that seeks to exploit and debase that religion, we watch as his detractors accuse him of political correctness.

You probably heard the accusations: Obama is pussyfooting around the phrase radical Islam because hed rather protect the feelings of terrorists rather than the lives of Americans. Or something like that. On one hand, the intense scrutiny on the presidents language reveals a conspicuous lack of substantive criticism of the presidents foreign policy. As President Obama wondered aloud in a recent press conference, What exactly would using this label accomplish? Would it make ISIL less committed to killing more Americans? Would it bring in more allies? Is there a military strategy that is served by this? Of course not. It is, as the president said, a distraction a political talking point, not a strategy.

But on the other hand, we are wise to focus on the language used in the critically important issue of knowing who our enemies are and who they are not. This is an issue that has the greatest political consequences. It is a political issue on which we need to be correct. And yet in that press conference, the president himself dismissed political correctness, underscoring the concepts status as a universal pariah, even as he defended his terminology. Obama explained, the reason that I am careful about how I describe this threat has nothing to do with political correctness and everything to do with defeating extremism.

Just as no serious firefighter would actually fight fire with fire, we cant fight the extremist language of foreign adversaries (and the insecurity and simplemindedness that propel it) with our own extremist language, insecurity and simplemindedness. It would be geopolitically incorrect, if you will, to do so. It would alienate our allies and motivate our adversaries.

After all, as conservative foreign policy expert Eli Lake has pointed out, our biggest allies in the Middle East are people in countries, such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia, whose brand of Islam strikes American sensibilities as radical. After special forces raided his compound, Osama bin Ladens notebooks revealed that al Qaeda recruiting activities were disabled because, according to Bin Laden, Obama administration officials have largely stopped using the phrase the war on terror in the context of not wanting to provoke Muslims. Nothing would help ISILs recruiting strategy more than an American president lumping togetherrather than drawing a distinction betweenterrorists and the worlds billion and a half Muslims.

Conservatives might tell us Obama is politically correct and Trump tells it like it is. But when it comes to the debate over the phrase radical Islam, Obama is playing chess and Trump is playing dodge ball. If politics is about strategy, political correctness is arming oneself with a sound strategy while political incorrectness is strategic recklessness.

Many on the left think conservatives demonize political correctness because they resent having to suppress their own prejudices. That might be true for some. But as someone who teaches a college class on political rhetoric, Ive come to appreciate that anti-PC attitudes are part of a longer tradition of suspicion toward carefully calibrated language. Throughout history, our species has tended to distrust people who have a knack for political oratory. Part of this stems from the fact that most people are not good public speakers at the same time most people have an affinity for people who are like them. This is something psychologists call homophily, and is the reason so many of us tend to want to vote for somebody wed like to have a beer with rather than someone smarter than us.

Conservative politicians who criticize Obama and political correctness understand that eloquence is often perceived less as a mark of intelligence and personal style and more as a product of artifice and self-indulgence. This is why they can muster up the backhanded compliment that Obama is a good speaker or a gifted orator.

Why do we hate political correctness so much? Our suspicion of sensitive political language goes back to ancient Greece, when the sophists got a bad rap for going around Athens training wealthy kids to become more talented speakers so they could win votes or dodge prison time. Plato famously distrusted rhetoric, although his student Aristotle would rehabilitate its reputation as an essentially virtuous endeavor. Political correctness, in which public officials are careful to avoid language that alienates or offends, requires a certain type of expressive competence. In the 2016 presidential campaign, Trump has critiqued this expressive competence while being wholly unequipped with it.

But political correctness is a longstanding American tradition and a deeply rooted value. Our countrys founders placed a premium on the ability to persuasively articulate opposing viewpoints. They rejected government censorship precisely because they trusted individuals could and would regulate themselves in our proverbial free marketplace of ideas. They didnt prohibit offensive speech because they believed truth lost its vigor unless confronted with falsehoods, and tolerance lost its social acceptance unless it could stand in contrast with ugly prejudices. They knew the value of an idea laid in its ability to gain favor in debates, which should be, in Supreme Court Justice William Brennans words, uninhibited, robust, and wide-open. Trump can say what he will about Muslims and Mexicans, but thoughtful journalists and pundits can and should say what they will about Trump.

If you are one of the many Americans who think political correctness is a detriment to politically vibrant debates in this country, you have it all backwards: People who use politically correct language arent trying to stifle insensitive speech. Theyre simply trying to out-compete that speech in a free and open exchange.

Every time Trump says something thats ugly or false and then claims political correctness is the big problem this country has and something we cant afford, hes basically blaming this free marketplace itself. Hes petulantly arguing with the umpire. Hes blaming you and methe publicfor exercising the freedom to decide which ideas are good or bad. In the end, many of you dont like or want what hes peddling. You reject his racist tirades and narcissistic antics. You support common-sense gun legislation which would help prevent another terrorist hate crime like the one that occurred in Orlando. You reject praying for political leaders based on those leaders party affiliations. And you dont think women deserve to be compared to pigs or dogs by people seeking our countrys highest office. I happen to think youre correct, politically.

Mark Hannah was a staffer on the John Kerry and Barack Obama presidential campaigns and is the author of the new book The Best Worst PresidentWhat the Right Gets Wrong About Barack Obama. He teaches at NYU and The New School.

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Political Correctness Is An Absolute Must | Time

Heres the data that shows Americans who rage against political correctness are the most xenophobic and most likely to vote Trump – AlterNet

Though Trump has previously raged against political correctness explicitly, and indeed, campaigned on it in 2016, when it comes to this recent COVID-19 labeling campaign, other far-Right thought-leaders have been doing this for him. For example, in a March 14th interview on Fox News, Arkansas Republican SenatorTom Cottonstated, Anyone who complains that its racist or xenophobic to call this virus the Chinese coronavirus or the Wuhan virus is a politically correct fool, and they ought not to be listened to about anything.

And March 20th, Former Fox News hostBill OReillytold Glenn Beck: The worst thing in this pandemic virus outside of the actual illness itself of course is the political [sic] correct media still, still peddling garbage that hurts the American people. Quoting an ABC News reporter, OReilly said in a whiny, mocking voice, A lot of people think its racist if you call it the Chinese Virus.Its sickening.

But survey data confirm that white Americanslike President Trump, Senator Tom Cotton, Bill OReilly, or their followerswho attack politically correct language as the enemy are in fact the most likely to hold racist or xenophobic views.In a nationally representative survey fielded in February 2020, we asked Americans to indicate how much they agreed with statements about using politically correct language. We also asked Americans for their views on refugees from the Middle East and Americas control over its Southern border.

In the first figure [left], we see that, as Americans agreement with the statement Too many people are easily offended these days over language increases, the more likely they are to believe that the federal government should do more to secure the Southern border and that Middle Eastern refugees pose a terrorist threat.

In the second figure [below, right], we see a similar trend, but in the opposite direction. The more strongly Americansdisagreewith the statement People need to be more careful with language to avoid offending people, the more likely they are to hold xenophobic views about refugees from the Middle East and to want stricter border control.

In sum: both figures show that white Americans who voice the strongest opinions against politically correct language also hold the strongest anti-immigrant attitudes.

Just as important, they are also the group most likely to plan on voting Trump in 2020.

The last figure [left] shows the percentage of white Americans who indicate they plan on voting Trump in 2020 by their level of agreement with our two statements regarding politically correct language. Nearly 80% of white Americans who strongly disagree that People need to be more careful with language to avoid offending people, or who strongly agree that Too many people are easily offended these days over language, intend to vote for Trump in November.

Seen in light of these data, Trumps dual strategy is clear. By unapologetically referring to COVID-19 as the Chinese Virus, Trump is first able to signal to his white base that he too is disdainful of scheming, disease-ridden outsiders. But he can also intentionally provoke a backlash against his hurtful and xenophobic language, which he and his followers can dismiss as leftist political correctness. Trump shores up support against both a perceived external threat (immigrants) and an internal threat (liberals) with a single dangerous and offensive swipe.

Read more from the original source:

Heres the data that shows Americans who rage against political correctness are the most xenophobic and most likely to vote Trump - AlterNet

Its time to stop fake political correctness and artificial harmony – The CEO Magazine

Political correctness has been around for half a century and throughout that time the world has witnessed many great changes; the end of apartheid, Australias first female Prime Minister and the passing of the same-sex marriage bill.

The term describes an avoidance of actions and language that offends or marginalises groups, particularly those that have historically been discriminated against.

Yes, political correctness has a powerful place in society, but in our increasingly diverse workplaces, PC culture has stifled curiosity, understanding, and our ability to empathise.

Australia is a proudly multicultural nation. Because of this, many believe our diversity rates and inclusive behaviours are ahead of the pack. In reality, we are not as progressive as we think. Working with global organisations from Shanghai, Japan, Pakistan, Malaysia and Silicon Valley taught me that Australias relationship with diversity and inclusion is fraught and no-one wants to talk about why theyre uncomfortable.

The smile-and-nod mentality is futile; on the surface workplaces are agreeing, while deep-down theyre not buying in. There is an artificial harmony between the politically correct way to embrace diversity and inclusion, and the real feelings, concerns and questions we have about the practical implications of change.

We must do better, and if that means being politically incorrect for the greater good of true progress, then so be it.

Humans are organically wired to be exclusive creatures; we gravitate towards similarity and comfort, and often we find that in reflections of ourselves. When asked to not only support, but prioritise difference, its a common reaction to feel uncomfortable or threatened.

This needs to be acknowledged, and that begins by proactively inviting dissent. Everyone has a bias be that unconscious or otherwise that informs their understanding of what diversity and inclusion is.

We use three fluid classifications to categorise individuals level of awareness on the subject:

Of all groups, rarely do we encounter anyone that wants to openly discriminate, rather its misinformation that fosters resistance.

Creating psychologically safe spaces to be politically incorrect and ask taboo questions without fear of judgement is the way to having honest and effective conversations.

The one size fits all approach rigid workplace policies or lectures on the issue only moralises workers, rather than actively engaging them in what they think diversity and inclusion means. This has the potential to create a culture of blind acceptance by suppressing curiosity and real understanding.

Acknowledging resistance is the first step to dropping the false pretence of artificial harmony. We are often told about the benefits of diversity and inclusion; the increased performance results; diversified skill sets; expanded talent pool; increased innovation the list goes on. But little attention is paid to the myths and challenges associated with implementing change.

A common myth is that women and minority groups are promoted or given special treatment over men, sparking all sorts of heated debate around the role of meritocracy. In reality, diversity and inclusion is not about superiorising women and minorities, its about adopting and learning an alternate view of what success, skills, experience and potential looks like when it encompasses a greater portion of society.

Another common misconception is that all people want to be treated equally, that the goal of diversity and inclusion is to see no distinction between men, women, and minority groups. But the dream is not equality; its equity.

Treating everyone with equity is part of the reason why diversity and inclusion is challenging, not only to implement but to maintain.

As a leader, it takes more money, time, resources and work to authentically manage individualism. Yet within many organisations, theres a sense that once the right boxes are ticked, the job is done.

Diversity and inclusion create friction that can proactively encourage dissent, but the belief that creating change is easy discourages the hard work behind progress and the benefits that come with it.

Its politically incorrect to openly acknowledge the difficulties of diversity and inclusion, but until we start to accept that its okay to imperfectly participate in conversation and be honest about the complexities that making real progress brings, we will continue to cultivate artificial harmony by wavering on the precipice of change.

Sarah Liu is the founder and director of The Dream Collective, Australias most influential network of high-calibre young women. Through this networking platform, The Dream Collective has been responsible for empowering and equipping thousands of professional women into leadership roles through leadership training and mentoring opportunities. She is also the co-founder of Gemini3 and has lead branding strategies for some of the worlds most recognised brands including Revlon, Olay and Coca-Cola.

Read next: Do you really need more inclusive language in the workplace?

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Its time to stop fake political correctness and artificial harmony - The CEO Magazine

PC and the Virus – The SandPaper


By Gail Travers | on March 25, 2020

To the Editor:

One would think that politically correct is such an innocent term. How can anyone be against something so friendly, something supposed to encourage harmony and peace between all people? Think again.

This movement calledpolitical correctness has ignited controversy across the land. And although the movement arises from the desire to sweep away the debris of racism, sexism and hatred, itonly has intensified it by replacingold prejudices with new ones.

Racism is a fire that the political class cant put out. Intentionally or not, politicians, the media and academics are all stoking the fire of racism. When all else fails, bring out the race card. Liberal progressives know that certain words can hurt you when you talk about your rights and liberties.

The latest weapon in their arsenal is the word xenophobia, defined as the fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners.The liberal American media would have you believe that if you refer to COVID-19, commonly referred to as coronavirus, as the Chinese virus, that would be xenophobic or racist.The far left wing of the Democratic Party has done a good job of manipulating the language. You would think the conservatives would be the ones to fight all this nonsense, yet their voices are quiet. The PC brigade has them on the run because they are so frightened of being branded as racist.

Art Mooney

Little Egg Harbor

Original post:

PC and the Virus - The SandPaper

DUNN: Trump is making the right moves – The News Herald

The spread of coronavirus has hit America hard, infecting thousands and causing significant disruptions to daily life. In such difficult times, citizens turn to their elected leaders for guidance and aid.

President Trump has risen to the moment in admirable fashion, delivering timely and crucial federal assistance to those affected by the outbreak and taking every measure necessary to protect the health and safety of the American people.

The Trump administration has coordinated an unprecedented, aggressive, and whole-of-government approach to fighting coronavirus. President Trump instituted travel bans to protect our borders, first making the bold call to ban travel from China, a life-saving decision made ahead of the curve and prompting other countries to follow his lead. Even far-left New York Mayor Bill De Blasio described the ban as in many ways, warranted.

Then came the tough decision to cut off travel from Europe. This decision proved prescient when days later Europe was deemed the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic. With a disregard for political correctness, President Trump made strong decisions that directly mitigated the spread of coronavirus within our borders.

President Trump has also directed the Small Business Administration (SBA) to provide financial relief to businesses and workers affected by the outbreakmuch-needed federal assistance in an uncertain time. This is being followed by a fight to secure an $850 billion stimulus package.

Finally, President Trump has directed Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to pursue the prospect of direct cash payments to Americans, proof that the Trump Administration will explore every possibilityhowever creative or unprecedentedto safeguard the health, safety, and incomes of the American people.

Here in Florida, weve received over $27 million in federal aid, as well as thousands of coronavirus test kits each capable of testing dozens to hundreds of patients that will be immediately employed to fight the outbreak.

This response is led by President Trumps world-class Coronavirus Task Force, headed by Vice President Mike Pence and comprised of the most qualified group of experts in the world working around the clock to fight the virus on every front.

The Task Force has worked in a transparent and aggressive manner on many fronts. They are holding regular press conferences and announcing new CDC guidelines with steps Americans can take in their daily lives to keep their families safe and stem the outbreaks spread. The President and his Task Force have also led the negotiations to enact crucial legislation that will cut red tape and allow Americans to be tested for the virus without cost.

In addition to working with partners in government, President Trump is also working with the private sector to combat COVID-19, which allows for a more comprehensive and accelerated effort to tackle the spread of the virus. Examples of innovative private-sector solutions include tech giants like Facebook and Google using smartphone location data to track the spread and make sure Americans are isolating themselves.

By cutting red tape and using private sector resources, he empowered medical professionals to expand access to telehealth services thereby allowing patients to consult with their physicians without having to leave their homes.

The success and dedication of the Trump administrations efforts is perhaps best exemplified by bipartisan plaudits for President Trumps response. Prominent Democrats Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York and Gov. Gavin Newsom of California, longtime Trump critics, through Monday described the President as very creative and energetic in fighting the outbreak and that every single thing [Trump] said [the administration] followed through on. CNN analyst Dana Bash praised President Trump as the kind of leader people need.

Its clear that President Trump has led an aggressive, transparent, effective, and timely response to the SARS-CoVID-19 epidemic. Its my hope that Democrats in Florida and around the country stop politicizing this threat, and work with the President to protect the health and safety of all Americans.

Neal Dunn, a Republican, is the U.S. Representative for Floridas 2nd Congressional District.

More here:

DUNN: Trump is making the right moves - The News Herald

Stop using the term people of color | Opinions – The Mass Media

UMass Boston and its professors stick to a very distinct set of politically correct terminology, both in and out of the classroom. Although I am generally skeptical of political correctness and its ramifications regarding the regulation of free speech, I almost always stick to the politically correct terms surrounding gender and race. If someone requests that I call them a certain pronoun, I always try to remember that pronoun in order to ensure that person is comfortable when I am conversing with them. I do this because I am a civil person in a civil society, and I do my best to respect peoples personal choices, as long as those personal choices do not influence me or anyone else.

Apart from politically correct terminology surrounding gender, PC, or people of color, culture arises in another place: race. When I am describing myself, I always like to specify my race. As Coptic Evangelical Egyptian and Palestinian American, my race is intertwined with my identity as a Christian from the Middle East. However, oftentimes my peers, white or black, use the term, person of color to describe anyone not white. As a person who is not white, I have adopted this term to describe myself to be in line with modern, politically correct terminology. I may have even described myself as a person of color in previous articles. Upon further investigation of this term, I am less inclined to use the term to describe my non-white peers, given the historical connotation of the term. Furthermore, I find the use of the term to describe anyone who is not white fundamentally and academically lazy.

I hear the following statements thrown around a lot: We need more people of color in government, or Women of color are especially marginalized. While these statements might be well-intentioned, they fundamentally ignore the nuances between races. Is someone who appears White from the Middle East or Latin America considered a person of color? Are there any fundamental racial or ethnic differences between an African-American person whose family has been in the United States for seven generations and an African immigrant, even though they may physically appear the same? These are important questions that question the nature of a term such as person of color.

During Jim Crow, the term colored people was used on bathrooms, tables, and water fountains to segregate Black and White people. All of sudden, in the 21st century, the term is used commonly to describe non-white. Personally, while I am not offended by the term, I do find the widespread and lazy usage of the word problematic for the advancement of non-white people. While in colloquial conversation, this umbrella term is very acceptable, but the usage of this term in academic circles presents issues.

According to the United States Census Bureau, Asians have the highest Real Median Household Income. At $81,331, Asians have more than double the lowest racial group, Black individuals at $40,258. Racial income inequality is only one way to differentiate different races, but according to the term person of color, those two racial groups are under the same umbrella term. Also according to this statistic presented by the Census Bureau, the White, non-Hispanic Real Median Household income is $68,145, substantially less than Asian Household income. (1)

The nuances of race in the United States must not be overlooked. In no other nation, can people of all different races come together and be called one race: American. Our different racial backgrounds are key to identity and must not be overlooked or oversimplified. I would encourage my white and non-white peers to analyze the differences in race and not use oversimplified language to describe race. Race itself is one of the most complex and historically significant aspects of human history.

In Asia, Chinese, Koreans and Japanese have had a long and brutal war-filled relationship. Within Africa are hundreds of different racial and language groups. In Europe exist different types of Europeans. Prior to the formation of the European Union, these countries were often at war. In Latin America, differences in color have formed variations in culture and language. In the Middle East, the invasion of Islam has formed lots of different types of races, each linked specifically to a religion. In the subcontinent of India, differences in religion created Muslim India and Hindu India (according to the British) which formed modern-day Pakistan and modern-day India, respectively. Race is incredibly complex, and boiling down thousands of ethnicities to a two-letter phrase is lazy, irresponsible, and careless.


Read more:

Stop using the term people of color | Opinions - The Mass Media

With Wuhan virus, political correctness is being monetized for the first time ever – OpIndia

Let us be clear on this. This pandemic is Chinas fault.

China, this is on you! YOU are responsible for thousands of deaths across the world. YOU are responsible for the global economic crisis and recession which is coming. YOU are responsible for what could be hundreds of millions of people losing their livelihoods.

China had the first case on Nov 17. They didnt tell the world anything. They hid it all. By mid December, several Chinese labs had found evidence of a mystery virus. But China destroyed the samples, stopped the tests and covered up the news.

- article continues after ad -- article resumes -

Even when the news filtered to the world, China kept feeding us nonsense news. Here is the World Health Organization on Jan 14, reporting what they had been told by Chinese authorities.

No evidence of human to human transmission? Really?

Why do we need to keep repeating this is Chinas fault? Doesnteveryone know by now has heard that the virus began in Wuhan in Hubei province in China?

Well, yeah. But history is an ever changing thing. Public memory is short. China has hit the propaganda gamehardto stave off the PR nightmare.

Just two months ago, it was acceptable and totally commonplace to refer to this as the Chinese virus.

By mid-March, opinions published on CNN had shifted.

In fact, liberal media was now publicly challenging Trump on why he and other Republicans were calling it Chinese virus. Suddenly the term that everyone was using just two months ago had been declared racist.

You know whats coming. They will scrub it all clean. That tweet from CNN may disappear some day. Any website containing any reference to that term might be scrubbed clean. Algorithms of social media giants might start identifying the expression Chinese virus as hate speech and start auto deleting any post with those words.

Nothing is secure, except the thoughts in our head. They know human memory is perishable and they will work non stop to make us forget. See if you notice the game being played in this tweet.

That man is an Associate Professor of Government at Harvard University.

Did you catch that? Did you see how cleverly he framed the sentence? He tried to misdirect us like a street magician. The really relevant part of that sentence is in the first part (which you are likely to miss), not the second (which you are likely to remember). Cleverly and wickedly, Prof. Wang has sown the idea that there is some debate over where the virus came from!

Thats how it starts. Now they will say we must teach the controversy over where the virus came from.

Nothing is safe, except for the thoughts that we can hold on to in our heads. And the thoughts we can pass around to those we know. The future generations must know what the world suffered because of the fault of the Chinese government.

With the Chinese virus pandemic, we are seeing something new and terrifying. For decades now, the network of political correctness has been laid all across the free world. But like many tech startups that later became giants, the revenue model for this was not immediately obvious. A lot of liberals got highly paid jobs working for this startup.

But, ultimately, the funding was coming from something resembling venture capital. A vast network for manipulating public opinion was being created, but it was not immediately clear how it would be monetized.

Well, now we know who would be willing to pay big $$$ for access to this network. Right now, the Chinese government wants history wiped clean. And liberals can help. Liberals can use their vast network to declare this or that as politically incorrect. And once something is declared politically incorrect, it is as good as banned!

Thats exactly what China wants. Thats exactly what China is getting right now.

The Chinese govt does not want the world to remember that the pandemic is their fault. Liberals have declared the term Chinese virus as racist, thus effectively banning it.

We all suspected that political correctness was a veiled form of fascism. And for the first time, we are literally seeing political correctness being made into a tool for serving dictators. Be very certain that this tool will be used again and again.

Read the original here:

With Wuhan virus, political correctness is being monetized for the first time ever - OpIndia

The rise of Sweden Democrats and the end of Swedish exceptionalism – Brookings Institution


Historically, Sweden has been a generous safe haven for refugees. Of all the countries featured in this Brookings project, it has taken in the most refugees per capita, and is third in the world on this measure behind Canada and Australia.1 In 2015, Sweden had a record-high of 162,877 applications for asylum, primarily from Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistanor about 1.6 percent of Swedens population of 10 million.2 This would be proportionally equivalent to over five million people applying for asylum in the United States, which in fact only received approximately 83,000 asylum applications that year.3

For a country like Sweden that has grown increasingly secular over recent decades, the influx of Muslims from war-torn countries has greatly impacted politics and society. The Sweden Democrats (Sverigedemokraterna), a right-wing populist party once politically verboten because of ties to neo-Nazis at its founding in 1988, is now the third largest party in the Riksdag, the Swedish parliament. It has effectively fashioned a narrative linking the surge of predominantly Muslim immigrants to a perception of an uptick in violent crimes and perceived strains on the prized Swedish welfare system. Swedes who are disgruntled by the establishment response to these concerns, especially regarding sociocultural issues,4 are attracted to the populist refrain of the Sweden Democrats: We say what you think.5 Unsurprisingly, the Sweden Democrats primary talking point is to specifically halt asylum immigration, which is predominantly Muslim.

This case study offers insight into why Swedes are joining the Sweden Democrats and the connection to their perception of Islam. Through interviews with Sweden Democrat voters and officials primarily in Skne, the southern party stronghold, this paper provides an intimate portrait of Sweden Democrats and their frustration with a political establishment over Muslim immigration, the perceived impact on the welfare system, and the cultural fallout in secular, liberal Sweden.6Interviewees eagerly shared their experiences of changes in Sweden, such as the introduction of Muslim children joining their kids classes, witnessing crimes in neighborhoods with more immigrants, and experiencing what they think of as religious concessions for Muslims who should be assimilating to secular Sweden.

Sweden Democrats do not believe that problems of crime or integration stem primarily from failures of socioeconomic policy or government bureaucracy; rather, they also blame culture, both of Muslim immigrants and political correctness. The Sweden Democrats and their robust network of alternative media7 offer narratives that make sense of these phenomena, regardless of whether claims might be unverified or false. When faced with allegations of racism, however, Sweden Democrats double down on the populist message that they are normal, working-class people trying to call attention to socioeconomic and sociocultural challenges posed by an influx of non-Western refugees, which they claim traditional political parties do not tackle head-on.

To understand the rise of the Sweden Democrats, it is important to first consider how the party exists in opposition to Swedens pre-existing political landscape, which had been governed more or less by a centrist consensus emphasizing humanitarianism and social welfare. The current ruling party, the Social Democrats, has been in power for the better part of the twentieth century with the exception of a few election cycles. Under the idea of folkhemmet or creating a peoples home, the Social Democrats in the 1930s were responsible for setting up much of Swedens robust social welfare system. It is the oldest party in Sweden and is currently leading the government in coalition with the Green Party.8

The second largest party is the Moderates, a center-right party and the main opposition to the Social Democrats. They differ from the latter in their support for free market principles, economic liberalism, and tax cuts. From 2006 to 2014 they were the lead party in coalition with the Christian Democrats, Liberals, and Center Party. Yet when the Sweden Democrats became the Riksdags third largest party in 2018, this coalition split, with the Liberals and Center Party offering support to the Social Democrats and refusing to make common cause with the Sweden Democrats to form a conservative government.9

There is a proud national narrative of Swedish Exceptionalism for welcoming refugees and providing asylum. While Swedes might have guarded their ethnic homogeneity before the 1930s, by World War II, Sweden began accepting Norwegian, Jewish, Danish, and Estonian immigrants.10 In the decades following, they welcomed Iranians after the Islamic revolution, Chileans fleeing Pinochet, and war refugees from the former Yugoslavia. Being a safe haven for others became a point of pride.11 As other European countries moved toward stricter immigration policies in the 1990s and 2000s, Sweden opened up.12 With some exceptions, politicians on both the left and right supported generous asylum and immigration policies well above the EU-minimum standards.13

All of this changed with the refugee crisis of 2015, marking the end of Swedish exceptionalism, when political parties changed their rhetoric and policies in reaction to fears of a system collapse from the massive influx of migrants.14 By November 2015, even the Social Democrat Prime Minister Stefan Lfven noted, It pains me that Sweden is no longer capable of receiving asylum seekers at the high level we do today. We simply cannot do any more,the near opposite of what he said just seven months before.15 By this time however, the Sweden Democrats had already seized the opportunity to position themselves as the only authentic party calling for curbing immigration not just recently but for decades.

It was against a backdrop of de-industrialization, public spending cutbacks, rising unemployment, and the violent breakup of Yugoslavia that caused an influx of refugees, that the Swedish Democrats grew up after their founding in 1988.16 Like other radical right parties, they called for restricting immigration across the board, not just of Muslims.17 Initially, the party had connections to Swedish fascism and explicit white nationalism.18 They elected Anders Klarstrm as party chairman in 1989, who had been linked to the neo-Nazi Nordic Realm Party.19 After photos surfaced of some members wearing Nazi uniforms in the mid-1990s, the party banned the wearing of uniforms of any kind and explicitly denounced Nazism in an attempt to present a more respectable image.20

Most of my interviewees acknowledged the racist origins of the Sweden Democrats but insisted that the party had outgrown them. A party official and Iranian immigrant who joined in 2013 rejected claims of racism, despite his own initial fears to the contrary: I was afraid that when I became a member, when I was coming to party headquarters in Malm, I was expecting like, oh, will there be a Southern Dixie Flag. But I came here and there was coffee and cookies and there was nothing like that.21 Other respondents claimed that while extremists still sometimes showed up to local Sweden Democrat meetings, they were summarily expelled. A few interviewees shrugged off the partys past or denied pieces of it, saying that political adversaries draw attention to the racist past to delegitimize the party.

Despite dark origins, the Sweden Democrats have surged both in Riksdag seats and in public opinion polls. In the 2018 Riksdag election, the Sweden Democrats gained 13 seats for a total of 62, while the Social Democrats lost 13 seats, dropping to 100.22 Since 2014, the Sweden Democrats have been the third largest party in parliament.23 Particularly in the southern Skne region, Sweden Democrats have made up the largest party in 21 of the regions 33 municipalities since 2018.24 During the writing of this paper, the Sweden Democrats tailed the Social Democrats as most popular among voters in opinion polls, at one point besting them with 24 percent of support, compared to the Social Democrats at 22 percent.25

Why the increased popularity? Scholars Anders Hellstrm, Tom Nilsson, and Pauline Stoltz describe three phases of the Sweden Democrats development. The first was before 2006, when the party was more or less out of public view and perceived as a small movement with neo-Nazi flourishes. In 2005, the 26-year-old chairman of the Sweden Democratic Youth, Jimmie kesson became the party leader, a position he still holds today. A former web developer and ex-Moderate, kesson strove to change the partys image after various neo-Nazi leaders were expelled.26 The change in leadership arguably ushered the party into a second stage (2006-2010), pushing it away from openly racist groups and toward a populist message advocating for ordinary people against a corrupt elite at the height of a global recession. This catapulted the Swedish Democrats into the media and public consciousness and gave the party its first significant electoral gains. The third phase came in 2010, when they entered parliament for the first time with 20 seats.27 The party officially changed its self description from nationalist to social conservative in 2011, and in 2012 introduced a zero tolerance for racism policy, which expelled party members with public opinions deemed as too racist.28

Notably, anti-Islam and anti-Muslim sentiments were not included in this expulsion. The Sweden Democrats had been laying the groundwork for a more focused anti-Islam narrative long before 2015, identifying Islam as public enemy number one. kesson claimed in 2009, As a Sweden Democrat I see this [Islam and Muslims in Sweden] as our biggest foreign threat since World War IILeading representatives of the Muslim community will demand the implementation of Sharia law in Sweden; that the Swedish municipal health board would use taxes to circumcise totally healthy young boys; that Sweden would have a higher level of rape and that Muslim men would be strongly represented among the rapists; that Swedish swimming clubs would introduce separate timetables for women and men.29

These warnings about Islam from kessons 2009 speech, such as rape by migrants and religiously segregated swimming pools, came up in many interviews, despite most interviewees only joining the party in the past five to seven years. Survey research shows that Sweden Democrats have significantly different opinions of Muslims than those in other parties. According to recent Pew Research Center polls, 59 percent of Swedes with a positive opinion of the Sweden Democrats express an unfavorable opinion of Muslims in their country. Conversely of those with a negative view of the Sweden Democrats, just 17 percent see Muslims negatively.30 Of Swedes, 70 percent had favorable attitudes toward immigration in 2015, yet Sweden Democrats higher skepticism toward immigration has framed it as an increasingly important political issue.31

Building on Hellstm, Nilsson, and Stoltz, I suggest there is a fourth phase in the partys evolution, marked by the 2015 refugee crisis. In a span of three months, 114,000 predominantly Muslim asylum seekers arrived in Sweden, primarily into Malm and small towns in the South, overwhelming the capacity of both government and civil society organizationswhile garnering continuous media attention.32 After that, the asiktskorridor or opinion corridor of what was socially acceptable in Swedish politics widened as discontent grew with how established parties handled welfare, immigration, and cultural concerns emerging from the crisis.33 Leading up to the 2018 election, immigration and healthcare polled nationally as the top concerns, respectively.34 The Sweden Democrats seized the opportunity to draw attention to the failures of the governments approach, cultural clashes with visibly observant Muslims, and reports of growing crimecreating a recruitment mechanism for disaffected Swedes.

There is an experience of coming out as a Sweden Democrat,where after suppressing opinions on Islam or migration perceived as politically incorrect, members would reveal their beliefs more publicly, to family and friends and then to the rest of their community.35 By 2015, the Sweden Democrats had come out.

When I asked Sweden Democrat members why they joined the party, most everyone mentioned the 2015 refugee crisis, violence, or strains on the welfare state. Many elaborated with personal experiences of crime or new refugees in their childrens small classes, impacting the quality of education. They generally believed that while these issues have socioeconomic dimensions, they are also connected to the nature of Muslim culture. When Islam came up, most interviewees began by emphatically stating they were not racist (The worst thing to call a Swede is a racist36), did not inherently hate anyone, and that there is a difference between extremism in any religion and private faith. However, they also admitted to being more than a little concerned about the scale of religious Muslim refugees introduced into Swedens secular welfare state and the governments response. At least in these interviews, Muslim and immigrant were used nearly interchangeably.

These interviewees felt that only the Sweden Democrats and the alternative media spoke directly about contentious issues like religion, immigration, and crime, situating them in a connected narrative. In a recent description of their core policy goals, the Sweden Democrats highlighted four objectives: a migration policy that ends asylum immigration; a reformed welfare system; a united country; and a safe society protecting Sweden from Islamism or any other extremism,though the manifesto does not specify what Islamism is.37

Similarly, the alternative media profusely covers topics relating to immigration, culture clash, and crime, and may exacerbate, falsely report, or erroneously correlate these phenomena. For instance, mainstream journalism might cover a bombing. Alternative media links to this coverage, but embeds it in a larger explanatory narrative emphasizing Islam or Muslims role.38 This approach has been proven to impact political attitudes on immigration.39 Meanwhile, mainstream media outlets rarely directly challenge claims made by the alternative media. This can leave such rhetoric to dominate digital media without the same volume of counter-arguments (at least those with good search-engine optimization) for queries like migrants and rape in Sweden. Additionally, these causal claims have increasingly entered mainstream discourse.40

This section explores, in their own words, interviewee reflections on the issues, the media environment, and personal experiences that inspired them to join the Sweden Democrats. The subsequent section then dives deeper into the role their perception of culture and Islam has in making sense of the issues in question.

Though immigration has since slowed significantly,41 the political and social impact of the 2015 refugee crisis still looms large. Like many interviewees who live in the South, the Sweden Democrats party chairman in a seaside town recalled the arrival of the asylum seekers: In 2015, when the war and all the immigrants came to Europe every 24 hours, they came from Germany by boats. We have a big harbor here in Trelleborg. Between 800 to 1,300 [came] every 24 hours.42 These numbers may be somewhat exaggerated, and trying to confirm data in a moment of crisis can be difficult, but the final numbers were daunting.43For example, Sweden spent 6 billion or 1.35 percent of its GDP on the 162,877 asylum seekers in 2015amounting to 1.6 percent of populationfrom predominantly Muslim countries.

Typically, the Swedish government funds language training and labor market integration of asylees in their first two years.44 The Swedish Migration Agency website also details stipends, housing, language training, healthcare, and other support available to asylum seekers,45 though services and applications are still backlogged because of the influx.46 At the height of the 2015 crisis, the increasingly strained migration agency began to rely on local non-government organizations and charities to fill in gaps of services.47

Generally, after two years of support for new asylees, the national government then passes responsibility over to municipalities who administer most social services locally.48 The majority of refugees in Sweden tend to be placed in peripheral and rural areas experiencing economic decline, rapid native depopulation, and few opportunities for employment, making social and economic integration difficult for migrants, and straining already economically declining municipalities.49

Every interviewee cited the 2015 crisis and the governments response to it as one of their main reasons in supporting the Sweden Democrats. Interviewees mentioned several specific policies they disliked, but the governments ultimate sin was that it had opened its doors to large numbers of predominantly Muslim refugees while having problems integrating Muslims immigrants who were already in the country. Even though the government moved to institute border checkpoints, began to limit asylees as soon as November 2015, and temporarily revoked permanent residency and family reunification privileges to most new asylum seekers,50 the Sweden Democrats positioned themselves as the insurgent voice calling the government out for acting too late and ineffectively, for too long. One participant in the local Sweden Democrats party meeting said he was angry at every politician on television for years, but the governments reaction to the 2015 crisis was the last straw; after that, he joined the Sweden Democrats.

Frustrated by the establishment approach to immigration, one municipal councilmember in Svedala described joining the Sweden Democrats: Thats what its about. Weve been too generous. We have had immigration much too high for a long time. But I never thought about, you know, entering politics. I went to vote. I had an opinion about this and that. In 2015, we saw the large wave of immigrants all over Europe. And I was really appalled at the response of the government, or lack of response.51Like all of other interviewees, he favors ending asylum migration entirely, but not other types of immigration, like skilled labor, provided these immigrants can assimilate.

The Sweden Democrats advocate ending asylum immigration and instead propose increasing economic aid for refugees abroad in their respective countries. This avoids the problem of assimilation, particularly Muslims who interviewees believe are hard to integrate in large numbers. Sweden Democrats argue that the country had economic, criminal, and cultural problems due to unassimilated immigrants, especially Muslims, even before 2015, and more refugees were just exacerbating the problem.

Every interviewee cited the governments inadequate response to violent crime as a reason to support the Sweden Democrats. Data show an increase in certain types of crime over the past few years, including bombings, gang violence, and rape, which interviewees blamed on a multiplicity of factors, some socioeconomic and some sociocultural relating to Islam. However, the reality is far more nuanced. Accurately assessing these claims and discerning a comprehensive picture of the violence is not straightforward.

Certain trends in violent crime have provoked public debate. Sweden saw over 100 bombings in 2019, twice that of 2018one of the highest percentage increases of any other industrialized nation.52 While the homicide rate remains one of the lowest in the world, figures of 300 shootings and 45 deaths in 201853 and 320 shootings with 41 deaths in 2019 shocked Swedes.54 Though its murder rates have fallen since the 1990s, there has been a significant estimated rise in firearm-related violence in Sweden.55 These crimes have been connected to a rise of gangs and organized crime groups, which are predominantly composed of first or second-generation immigrants, though not strongly correlated to a specific country, ethnicity, or religion.56

Yet a major difficulty in assessing the nature of these crimes is the limited availability of official data. For instance, the Swedish Police Authority only began to collect data on the number of non-lethal shootings in 2017. Similarly, while the government has conducted studies on the national origin of crime suspects, the most recent one was in 2005, which, among other things, found immigrants more likely to be suspected of crimes, with discrimination playing a role. Comprehensive official data on national origin of criminal suspects is not readily available,57 even though various parties have demanded new investigations to find data that will substantiate their claims.58

Of the data that is available, interpretations and implications can be misleading, depending on bias. For example, official statistics do show a large increase in reported rapes, or 34 percent, in the past ten years,59 but convictions remain low.60 The Swedish government caveats that the increased statistic could have something to do with the nature of Swedens criminal reporting style, changes in the definition of rape, and a new cultural willingness to report.61 Thus, conclusions based solely on the increased rape statistic might be at least partly misleading.

The media has stepped in with the aim of filling in the gaps, sometimes contradicting government claims. In 2018, a public broadcaster investigated court convictions and found that 58 percent of convicted rapists were foreign-born, feeding into a narrative that the rise in rapes was due to some cultural proclivity among Muslim refugees. The piece attracted endless media attention, yet this statistic does not consider the ethnic breakdown of non-prosecuted cases nor is it an official statistic given that the government does not report national origin of suspected rapists.62 To combat this narrative, the government pointed to a 2013 study showing that the main difference in terms of criminal activity between immigrants and other populations is due to socioeconomic conditions rather than culture.63 Yet Sweden Democrats posit that individual and cultural factors must also play a role. Think of Social Democrats and their worldview: they have a dogma that crime is due to poverty, a Sweden Democrat told me. But you cant blame everything on that! They think it is societys fault, not the individual. This doesnt explain rapes and bombing.64

Irrespective of the cause or severity of the violence in Sweden, the narrative that violence is getting worse and more grotesque because of immigrants is having a very real impact on political opinion. This is due in part to an alternative media ecosystem, one of the most robust in Europe, which shares politically slanted news primarily through Twitter and Facebook, often in closed groups. The main media sources, Samhallsnytt (News in Society) and Nyheter Idag (News Today), were founded by Sweden Democrats and another, Fria Tider (Free Times), is often viewed as the most Kremlin-friendly. They have the appearance of professional news sites and are shared at increasingly high levels. For instance, in the leadup to the 2018 elections, Swedish Twitter users shared one link from this ecosystem for every two links shared of professional news.65

Through alternative media, reports of attacks by people of color and Muslims are continuously shared and exaggerated. In one case, they were staged by a Russian television crew.66 Many respondents discussed reading local papers in addition to the aforementioned online sources which they referred to as alternative media, acknowledging them as distinct from other news. The narratives from these outlets have spread through international alternative media sources such as Breitbart.

Violent riots in immigrant communities have captured considerable media attention, such as the 2008 Malm Mosque Riots, the 2010 and 2017 Rinkeby Riots, and 2013 Stockholm riots, with alternative media dubbing these as ungovernable no-go zones,67 though police say this is not the case.68 Even U.S. President Donald Trump used Sweden as a cautionary tale in a 2017 rally, referencing a non-existent terrorist attack there saying, They took in large numbers. Theyre having problems like they never thought possible.69The aforementioned Rinkeby Riots occurred two days later, drawing more attention to the issue.

Complementing these media narratives are personal experiences, local stories, and a sense of injustice. A councilmember in the seaside town of Trelleborg said he joined the Sweden Democrats in 2006 after a personal experience with violence. He spoke about how his daughter had a child with a Tunisian Muslim who ended up assaulting the two, causing the baby developmental damage. He said the man was imprisoned, but on appeal was set free and given money to compensate for wrongful imprisonment. The councilman claimed that if a non-Muslim Swede committed the same crime, he would still be imprisoned, but because the man was Muslim, the court was more lenient. Trying to verify elements of stories like this with third party sources can be difficult in this information environment. As a charismatic local leader, however, his story is well-known.

All of this leads Sweden Democrat supporters to a hyperawareness of nearby crime, alleged and real; according to one poll, respondents expressing great concern about crime has increased from 32 percent to 43 percent in the past ten years.70 When asked if the problems would be visible to them if they just logged off social media, one interviewee remarked, We see the problems with our own eyes. We cant shut that off.71

Several interviewees used to live in Malm, but they said witnessing violence there caused them to move to small towns and later join the Sweden Democrats. Malm is a city that is about 45 percent of immigrant background72 and though certain types of violent crime decreased in 2018, there are still high-profile shootings, increased rape reports, as well as bombings.73 One party chairman in Svedala, where the Sweden Democrats have the most seats of any party,74 described his move from Malm in 2010: We experienced an increasing sense of not being safe. Especially my wife. [] That summer, they blew up the cash machine outside the bank. The night before we moved, a man was shot down in the parking lot just next to my house. You know, when we loaded the furniture in the truck, we could see the stains of blood.75 Another council member described moving 30 minutes outside of Malm in 2010 after a person was murdered 100 meters from where he lived. Yet he did not blame the new refugeeshe thought they were mostly immigrant gangs from the former Yugoslavia and not specifically new Muslims.76

Interviewees discerned that not all of the gang violence was coming from the most recent refugees, but many believed that adding more immigrants to already economically and socially depressed areas would create more problems. A Christian Iranian immigrant and Sweden Democrat official in Malm joined the party when he saw a rise in anti-Semitism in the immigrant neighborhoods he grew up in. As has been reported elsewhere, he noted that some immigrants like himself were joining the Sweden Democrats because of violence in their neighborhoods.77 He said, [Immigrants are] usually the ones who have to live in these areas and these areas take most of the migrants when they come to a city like Malm. And therefore, we have a lot of social problems. If we have less migration, these areas can somehow heal because we cant have new people coming into these areas all the time. Like many newly arrived migrants, they have difficulties getting a job. So there are a lot of unemployed people in these areas. So these areas can never create some kind of community. Ive grown up with all these problems. So I wanted to do something about it.78

Given that Swedes pay some of the highest personal income taxes in the world, there are regular public concerns about any decreased quality in healthcare or education. On healthcare, for instance, recent reports show some of the worst wait times for emergency care in Europe,79 delays in specialist care, nurse shortages, fewer beds but an increased population, and clinic closures. Compared internationally, Sweden still has good healthcare, cancer survival, and life expectancy.80 Yet, quality of care can range widely because responsibility for health and elder care is decentralized to the county and municipal levels.81 This means sometimes more rural or aging areas struggle to provide care in a timely manner.

Sweden Democrats often blame the systems struggles on immigrants, especially visibly Muslim ones. Unemployment for the foreign born is 15 percent, compared to 3.5 percent for Swedish born.82 Yet daunting headlines in alternative media like Sweden: Around 90 Percent of 2015 Migrants with Residency Status Are Unemployed83 can insinuate that refugees are one of the core strains on welfare. Because of the perceived strain on social services by unemployed migrants who receive an unfair share of benefits, a discourse of welfare chauvinism has set in. This term has been used in the Nordic context to describe a primarily right-wing belief that better social services should be privileged for the native-born over undeserving unemployed newcomers from certain cultures.84 A perfect illustration of this is a 2010 Sweden Democrat campaign video showing a group of burqa-clad women with strollers outrunning a pensioner for government assistance.85

Various respondents told stories of the injustices of a system giving more to immigrants than native Swedes. A Sweden Democrat in Trelleborg explained that his 93-year-old father had to pay 37,000 Swedish Krona ($2800 USD) for dentures, whereas he claimed a refugee would only need to pay 50 Krona ($5 USD).86 The dentures examples was brought up in several interviews, underscoring its viral spread. Yet again, trying to verify such stories is a challenge when the search terms lead to either more alternative media sensationalism or government statements of general benefits that neither confirm nor deny specific cases.

Interviewees also discussed strains on education and personal experiences with refugees in the classroom. An official in Svedala discussed the challenges of teaching computer science to non-Swedish refugees.87 A Sweden Democrat official in Hrby described why he put his daughters in a new school in Lund: When they went to summer break, there were 15 pupils in her class. And after summer break, there were 22. They got seven new arrivals in her class. They were young men from Afghanistan, just put in her class. And they didnt speak the language. They were illiterate. They couldnt write. The whole educational framework, so to speak, in that class was totally demolished.88 Given that 70,000 children, 35,000 of whom were unaccompanied minors, sought asylum in 2015 alone, the increase of refugee children in Swedish schools impacts the education experiences of both local children and refugee childrenwho might not be getting the trauma, language, or integration support they need.89

Ultimately, several interviewees perceived Muslim immigrants as not only poorly integrated, but choosing to live in non-Swedish speaking parallel societies and not working because of cultural preference, not economic or prejudicial disadvantage. A Hrby council member explained his belief that previous waves of non-Muslim immigrants wanted to work and become Swedes, but not so with Muslims:

I think that the recent waves of immigration, they are from a totally different cultural standpoint [] And you cant ignore that. For many Somalis, they consider work as a punishment. For instance, they dont see the virtues of working to earn your own money. It made me see that they dont want to work in Sweden. They are just staying here and making a lot of babies. We have a welfare system that is very generous for families having babies. So they are flourishing here.90

Alternative media sources and political rhetoric from groups like the Sweden Democrats can frame Muslims as culturally incompatible by contrasting them to other generations of assimilated immigrants that had come in smaller numbers or from different (but typically European Christian) cultures. This points to the deeper issue of whether or not Sweden Democrats see the presence of Muslims as compatible with Swedish society.

The Sweden Democrats portray themselves as defenders of the peoples home (folkhommet), a term used in the 1930s by the Social Democrats in their effort to mobilize support for a robust, class-crossing welfare regime. But who gets to be part of the people when the number of non-Native Swedes is growing? Of Swedes, 19 percent were foreign-born in 2018 compared to 11 percent in 2,000.91 Muslims make up about eight percent of Swedens population, or around 800,000.92 Many Muslims came from labor migration in the 1970s, refugee crises prior to 2015, or are children of those two groups.93 Approximately half are secularized,94 one-third are school age or younger, and about 110,000 are part of a registered Muslim organization.95Beyond this, reliable statistics about the makeup and practices of the Muslim population are limited.

Yet certain types of Muslims (and for some, all Muslims) are not included in the Sweden Democrats vision of the people in the peoples home. However, the defining characteristics of who the people are and what a Swede is are not entirely clear, even to Sweden Democrats.

When asked during interviews what it means to be a Swede, Sweden Democrats sighed and mentioned love of fika (coffee-driven snack breaks), a strong work ethic, respect for nature, speaking Swedish, and equality between the sexes. Those aside, each respondent had a difficult time describing what exactly it meant to be Swedish, which turns out to be part of what it means to be Swedish. One interview subject brought up the concept of lagom. Roughly translated as equal or just the right amount, the word was described to me by a party chairman in Trelleborg as being that sense when Swedes expect you to do something but wont tell you to do it, it is just what should be done. This makes it more difficult for newcomers (or those born in immigrant enclaves) to discern how exactly to be Swedish. When asked what is Swedish culture and what its rules might be if you were to explain them, the chairman paused, then reflected on the reality that Swedish culture is rather muted. Unlike Islam, which has proscribed religious rules for being and living, Swedes do not have rules so much an intuitive understanding of their mild-mannered culture. As such, he said Swedes embody lagom.96The word is popular and came up several times in interviews. Lagom has been described as permeating all facets of the Swedish psyche.97

Swedes have generally been uninvolved in conflict, instead asserting their tolerance of others, acceptance of refugees, and humanitarian efforts. This has backfired, says one man in Klippans local board meeting of Sweden Democrats: Theres a famous person who writes historical books and he said that the Swedes are peace damaged. We look to the neighbor countries and they have been through something that binds them together as a people.98 The Sweden Democrats I interviewed did not think Swedes have a strong culture, making them vulnerable to cultures that are. One speaker in the local council who served on the education and social welfare boards in Hrby said, I think the Swedish culture is a weak culture because we dont have so many strongly defined dos and donts. We are in danger from becoming run over by some more strong culture. I think that Islam is a strong culture because it has a very strong moral codes, strong beliefs.99

In turn, according to some Sweden Democrats, the lack of specificity on what it means to be a Swede makes it difficult for non-Swedes from non-Western cultures to assimilate because they dont know the rules. Despite efforts to build an egalitarian multiculturalism, anthropologists have noted there is a tendency in Swedish political culture for equality (jmlikhet) to connote sameness (likhet).100 Thus, some Swedes perceive that being too different can threaten the equality that the peoples home relies on. At median growth projections, according to Pew, Muslims would not approach anything close to a majority. By 2050, they would comprise around 21 percent of the population,101 but some Sweden Democrats fear that Islam, and what they perceive as a distinct, strong, rule-driven religious culture, threatens to displace or dominate secular Swedish culturemaking it wholly different in the process.

Sweden takes civic secularism seriously102 and surveys indicate it is one of the least religious countries in the world.103 Sweden Democrats interviewed were no exception, and several expressed a distaste for all organized religion, but especially public displays of religiosity, like the burqa. There were split feelings amongst respondents about whether or not Islam is compatible with Sweden, based primarily around whether or not the respondent believed Islam could be practiced privately or if it was inherently political and public.

Some respondents asserted there is a difference between radical Islamists and Muslims. In the small town of Klippan, I was able to sit in on the board meeting of the local Sweden Democrats. The chairman, a businessman and army reservist who had served in Bosnia, expressed, You really got to distinguish two different parts: Islam as a religion and Islam as a political agenda, which is going to extremism. When I asked why others in the room had joined the party, one woman said, For me it was the big problems in immigration. And I am really afraid that the Muslims will take over Sweden in the future if we cant stop it. The chairman quickly chimed in, The extremists, you mean? Yes, the extremists she said.104 In some ways, this correction felt like a reaction to having a researcher in the room, and some respondents uncomfortably speaking in English, yet interviewees in different cities noted they remind other party members not to make blanket statements about Muslimsperhaps to educate against blatant xenophobic language that could threaten the partys reputation. As one Sweden Democrat respondent in Malm said, People shouldnt shout out stuff that doesnt make sense, like Muslims are taking over. This wont help the party. They need more sophisticated politicians, less crazies.105

Other respondents felt there was no distinction between Islamists and practicing Muslimsall were incompatible with Swedish life and even democracy. To illustrate, many pointed to Sharia law in Islam, which they see blending the political and spiritual. The party chairman in Svedala described Islam as inherently being a political ideology:

I do not think [Islam] is compatible with Western democracy because Islamic law is a lot more far reaching than, for example, the Christian Ten Commandments. Islamic law covers a lot more of everyday life. And if you have a law that is set by God I have seen studies that say that about half of Muslims in the West believe that religious law is above democratic manmade law. And if that is the case, you know, whats the point of democracy? Why elect someone to make laws if you already have laws that govern important aspects of life? So I do think there is a problem with Islam and democracy.

A Sweden Democrat from Hrby also insisted, There is no reformed Islam. And maybe sometimes people speak about moderates or reform Islam. But there is one Islam. And when you talk to Muslims themselves, they acknowledge that theres only one. [] The Quran, its a warrior manualIts like, kill your enemies, take their wives and rape them. Sell them as slaves. Its spreading the word with the sword.106

There is no party consensus around whether Muslims are completely incompatible with Swedish culture or whether a significant number might be able to assimilate, but all agree that the increased rate of Muslim immigration makes integration impossible. In Staffanstorp, where a council of Moderates and a Sweden Democrat made news by voting to ban burqas in schools,107 a councilman said, I think Islam is compatible with Sweden. It is. The big problem is that its going too fast.108

Some Sweden Democrats interviewed were immigrants from Poland and Iran. Another had an Italian immigrant parent. Many insisted that they had immigrant friends and that they were open minded enough to talk to this potentially judgmental American researcher. Almost all argued that the new waves of Muslim refugees could not assimilate because there were simply too many, arriving too fast to possibly integrate into Swedish society. Some believed smaller numbers of Muslims could have integrated, but when Muslim communities were large, their powerful non-Western culture remained intact making Swedish language unnecessary and unspoken.

Given economic realities, many immigrants end up in poor neighborhoods with other immigrants. The council member in Staffanstorp said, They get put in ghettoes [by the government]. They dont feel Swedish. They feel left out and get into criminality. Not discrediting the impact of prejudice, he reflected that these immigrants might self-select into these neighborhoods to move where they feel at home.109 To this point, debates are underway about the nature of state-supported religious education and how it impacts assimilation;110 many Muslim immigrants send their children to religious schools less for religion and more to escape disrespect, racial prejudice, or a general lack of cultural understanding at municipal schools.111 Some interviewees thought the multi-faceted failure of integration, a result of both poverty and two-way prejudice, makes it even more difficult for immigrants and their children in the long term, who might dream of their home countries, which they might see as superior.112

Yet, at the heart of the assimilation debate is the issue of gender. Across the board, interview subjects felt that certain customs among some Muslims such as gender segregation, marriage practices, and treatment of women was incompatible with something as central to Swedish culture as gender equality. A council member from Hrby described his belief: I fear that this natural assimilation is not possible for Muslims because they dont tolerate assimilation. Basically. For instance, if a man meets a Muslim woman, its not possible for him to marry her. But if I were to marry, I must convert to Islam. And its not possible for that woman to become Christian.113 I asked if the 1970s wave of Turkish labor immigrants114had integrated into Swedish society and he insisted their fewer numbers and secularism promoted by Turkish leader Kemal Atatrk mitigated the impact of Islam. Studies show, however, that more time spent in Sweden is a core factor in increasing labor force participation of female immigrants, though origin country culture does impact their rate.115

Some women say they join the Sweden Democrats because they fear rape by Muslim migrants or because they think Islam is a cultural threat to gender equality. In the Klippan town hall, one woman said she joined the party because she wanted her daughters to be strong and independent, citing arranged marriage in certain Muslim cultures that had come to Sweden.116 In another story, a female former Sweden Democrat in a Stockholm suburb, left the party with her husband to join an even more right-wing party modeled after Germanys Alternative for Deutschland called the Alternative for Sweden, which has no seats in the Riksdag. She felt the Sweden Democrats were sexist and leaving women out of power but also not tough enough on immigration by not calling to repatriate migrants. She thinks Islam was simply incompatible with Swedish society, which is why Muslims chose to and wanted to live in unassimilated, non-Swedish speaking parallel communities and no-go zones.

She brought up an experience of going to a bath house during a womens only time, which she thought of as an un-Swedish concession to Muslims. Like many Western countries, swimming pools are mixed-gender in Sweden. The local council had agreed to make certain hours of the bath house women only to accommodate cultural and religious needs of Muslim women who do not want men to see them in immodest dress. When she went on the womens-only day, she described fights with Muslim women. She said she pointed out the Swedish norm of not wearing clothes in the sauna for hygienic reasons. She described their response: They told me to my face: We dont listen to you. We dont care about you. Were sitting in the sauna with clothes on. And you can do nothing about it.117 While this appears to be a dramatic retelling, pools and bath houses have become a hot button and newsworthy issue in Sweden. The debate has brought up questions on how to accommodate different cultural practices regarding gender that might conflict with the more progressive, secular status quo. Swedes are debating if it is appropriate to make religious accommodations like gender-separated swimming in public pools, with those in favor supporting the needs of a multicultural society and those opposing encouraging cultural assimilation.118

Sweden Democrats do not deny that Europe has historically experienced the movement of people and cultures. Yet, one interview subject reflected that the recent influx of Muslims is non-European, making it different: Were going to cope with them, but we have to find the means to make them European in style, because in Europe, there have been people coming for millennia and they have all, so to speak, formed their own nations and their own societies. I think this time its a danger. These volumes [of people] are going to change Europe for good.119

Sweden Democrats are aware of other European parties fighting to counter Muslim immigration, political correctness, and the elite; a few get a newsletter from the party each day telling them about the family abroad.120 A couple from the Alternative for Sweden advocated adopting the sort of hardline anti-immigration policies overseen by populist leaders in Italy, Hungary, and Poland.121 Another party leader in Haninge enumerated his respect for President Donald Trumps America First policy.122

Like other European countries with growing right-wing populist movements, Sweden is asking itself what egalitarian multiculturalism looks like if immigrants live in parallel societies. As a Sweden Democrat who immigrated from Iran pointed out, When I was growing up, there was no reason to define your Swedish culture. Nobody talked about that. But today, people are questioning a multicultural society. People are questioning what is the dominant culture.123 Another party member from Svedala asked, The society we have today, Sweden? Im not even sure it should be called multiculturalism. We have parallel cultures that dont mix.124 As more and more immigrants grow up in what police call vulnerable areas, unintegrated in Swedish economy or culture, more questions emerge as to what the Swedish mainstream culture is and how and if immigrants should assimilate to it.

Sweden Democrats believe their party will continue to grow, especially if it is continuously left out of the national conversation; they semi-joked they were a political culture not included in politically correct multiculturalism. One official cited a beer hall cancelling an event reservation once they discovered it was for Sweden Democrats.125 The couple from the Alternative for Sweden funds some of the alternative media and is using the building from their former label factory to make a meeting space for those discriminated against for their beliefs. Many interviewees pointed out that the Sweden Democrats were not invited to participate in a recent national working group on crime in which all the other major parties participated.126 When this happens, Sweden Democrats retort they are just ordinary people, not bred politicians127 trying to solve problems but that the dominant parties try to squash their dissent. The party chairman in Klippan invoked Swedish author Vilhelm Mobergs idea of Demokrator, a Swedish word that blends democracy and dictatorship to describe a government that poses as a democracy, but like a dictatorship, suppresses anti-establishment speech. He said leaving out the third largest party from conversations gets people suspicious, and thus Sweden Democrats are benefiting and earning and growing by the fact that [the establishment parties] dont want to involve us.128

The humanitarian doctrine of Swedish Exceptionalism might have been a point of national pride and a marker of Swedish identity. That capacity has now been challenged by taking in the most refugees per capita of any European country. As the government moderates its more ambitious and idealistic commitments, what will inspire Swedes as time goes on? What are sources of national pride as they face 21st century challenges of accommodating aging populations, strained welfare systems, and greater ethnic and religious diversity? What duty do they have to the other? What are Swedish values?

Interviewees saw themselves as Swedish humanitarians, but by other means. They expressed they did not hate Muslim refugees and wanted to offer significant aid in their countries of origin. They stressed that they needed to fix their own existing problems before inviting new challenges in the country. These plain talk populist talking points challenge the reputations of other parties for charity and humanitarianism by offering alternative policies that satisfy Swedish values of peace, tolerance, and humanitarian effortsjust on other territory. This does not mitigate deep prejudices and xenophobia in the ranks of Sweden Democrats. As for Muslim immigrants already in Sweden, they will continue to confront Islamophobia and discrimination as the Sweden Democrats continue to hold up the 2015 refugee crisis, its daunting statistics, and visible media spectacle as the epitome of government failure.

Socioeconomic explanations for crime, poverty, or strains on the welfare system can give hope to more progressive voters that there are technocratic solutions, fulfilling their commitment to values of tolerance, equality, justice, charity, and human rights. Yet there are many ways for a society to understand and fulfill these values. Sweden Democrats think these values have not only material and economic dimensions but also cultural onesinviting uncomfortable conversations about cultural differences which at best can be constructive but at worst can invite ugly racism. Right now in Sweden, there is a battle between parties to define and own these values. One cannot write off the Swedish Democrats attempts to persuade a growing number of voters of their own particular interpretation.

As indicated by these interviewees, the spirit of lagom might not sustain a cohesive national culture especially when other new, competing culturesnationalist or Muslimdisrupt the status quo whether by Internet or immigration. The Sweden Democrats themselves are challenging a political status quo and a centrist consensus, by offering something different with new faces. In an age of confirmation bias, where at least some dirt can be found on any political party with just a click, voters can more easily accept overlooking egregious past rhetoric or affiliations. Many new voters supporting the Sweden Democrats appear to be attracted to this new political alternative as they experience what can feel like new dynamics of immigration, crime, religiosity, lagging social services, or cultural clash. They feel the Sweden Democrats are slowing down the change, instead of hastening it and leaving them behindnot unlike other populist parties in this Brookings series.

Establishment parties risk distancing themselves from average and prospective Sweden Democrats if they downplay the challenges of immigration or dismiss perceptions of social problems in immigrant neighborhoods as purely racist extremism. Similarly, assuming that Sweden Democrats are misinformed dupes, instead of people with fundamental disagreements (however illiberal) on definitions and values, might lead to reductionist thinking that fact-checking or banning alternative media on social platforms will solve the problem of populism. In turn, Sweden Democrats must take seriously and acknowledge that some of their amplified rhetoric can inspire xenophobia, Islamophobia, and racism which risks turning violent, as it has in other parts of Europe.129

Only if the Sweden Democrats have any real governing power will their rhetoric be tested against the results they create, and considering their growing popular support, such an outcome isnt nearly as implausible as it might have once seemed. Until that happens, if it ever does, there will likely be a near continuous stream of sensational stories about cultural clashes with Muslims, outrageous examples of government welfare injustice, and blistering critiques of mainstream parties and leaders. As the Klippan party chairman said, We always try to show the crises. We always want to push the panic button. This could mean that in the media and rhetoric of the Swedish Democrats, Muslim immigration will continue to feel like a crisis, even well after the crisis subsides.


The author would like to thank Anders Hellstrm for his helpful suggestions and feedback, interviewees who shared their networks and time, and her hosts in Helsingborg for opening their home.

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The rise of Sweden Democrats and the end of Swedish exceptionalism - Brookings Institution

Why is a 16-year-old book on slavery so popular now? – The Ohio State University News

People dont generally like to read old news. In most cases, stories on the Ohio State News website like most news sites reach peak readership within a week or so after they are published and arent read much after that.

But then again, the second most read story on the Ohio State News site in 2019 viewed more than 90,000 times was one that was published 16 years ago. Thats not a typo. The story first appeared March 7, 2004.

But it gets even stranger when you realize that the story was not about a blockbuster medical discovery or tuition announcement, but a book on European and African history from 1500 to 1800.

It only starts to make some hazy sense when you find out the title of the book: Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters: White Slavery in the Mediterranean, The Barbary Coast, and Italy, 1500-1800.

The Ohio State news story on the book is titled When Europeans were slaves: Research suggests white slavery was much more common than previously believed.

In the book, now-retired Ohio State University history professor Robert Davis used a unique methodology to estimate that a million or more European Christians were enslaved by Muslims in North Africa between 1530 and 1780 a far greater number than had ever been estimated before.

A web search of the book and the Ohio State News story shows why their popularity has soared.

In an era of political polarization in America, much of which is related to issues of race, it appears that a portion of the political spectrum often termed the alt-right has produced itsown particular take on the book and is sharing the story widely over social media.

The Southern Poverty Law Center says the alt-right is a set of far-right ideologies, groups and individuals whose core belief is that white identity is under attack by multicultural forces using political correctness and social justice to undermine white people and their civilization.

The alt-right take on the book, in a nutshell: The fact that some white Christians were once held as slaves by black Muslims essentially excuses slavery in America.

This take on his work disturbs Davis, who was surprised when he was told about the recent popularity of the old Ohio State News story. He said that over the years he has regularly received emails and requests for interviewsabout the book, but he had no idea how much attention his book was receiving and for what reason.

The early attention for the book was much different.

Thanks in good part to the original OSU news release, which was picked up by several wire services, there was a rapid and largely enthusiastic response all over the world to my book.Feature articles were run in major newspapers and magazines from Britain, France, Germany, Switzerland and Italy all the way to India, Malaysia and Australia.A French translation of the book even received a major prize from the Acadmie Franaise, Davis said.

But even at the beginning, there were hints about what was to come.

At almost the same time, I started being contacted by various right-wing broadcasters and conservative pundits who believed the book or the news release supported their own take on racial history. Some have specifically used it to back their claims that the slavery suffered by white European Christians somehow lessens or even negates the great historical horror of the trans-Atlantic slave trade from Africa to the Americas, he said.

Some on the alt-right have gone so far as to assert that Davis findings that white Christians had themselves once been enslaved by black Muslims mean that Americans today need not be concerned about either African American slavery or its aftermath.

One Facebook page discussing Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters makes its message plain: Never feel guilty about slavery in American again!

As time has passed and mainstream interest in my findings unsurprisingly began to fade, the commitment to this racialist interpretation seems to have only intensified, as especially people of thealt-right have taken to using my book or at least the news release for their own, unrelated purposes. And while Id really like to distance myself from such use, or rather misuse, theres not a lot I can do at this point, Davis said.

He said that some people have begun taking one of his findings (about the number of Christians enslaved by Muslims) out of context and not really comprehending the whole book.

I see the book as a kind of highway towards certain historical conclusions, but some people are getting off the first exit that has some information they can use, without seeing where the highway ends up, he said.

It is telling, Davis said, that his follow-up book which Ohio State News also wrote about has not received nearly the attention of Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters.

Thats probably because the second book (Holy War and Human Bondage: Tales of Christian-Muslim Slavery in the Early-Modern Mediterranean, published in 2010) spread its focus to include the North African Muslims taken as slaves by European Christians, as well as Protestants and Orthodox Christians enslaved by Catholics.

In that book, Davis estimated that more than 1 million Muslims were enslaved in Europe and 2 million Christians suffered the same fate in North Africa and the Near East. Jews also fell victim to slavers on both sides of the struggle, he pointed out.

It was in this book that Davis coined the term faith slavery.

During this period, both sides, Muslims and Christians, had nearly equal power, Davis told Ohio State News at the time. It really was a clash of empires and taking slaves was part of the conflict.

Even then, Davis was clear that the fact that some white Europeans were slaves did not mitigate or diminish the enslavement of 10 to 12 million black Africans who were brought to the Americas.

That (argument) doesnt make sense to me, Davis told Ohio State News in 2010.

Though faith and race slavery were both pervasive in those centuries, the enslavement of some white Christians can hardly balance the moral wrong of the slavery that other whites inflicted on Africans. Two such enormous wrongs dont make anything right.

Since the two books have come out, Davis has retired and moved to California, where he continues to research and write. He said he probably receives an average of two or three emails a month from people inquiring about Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters or the Ohio State news release.

He thought it must be normal for historians to be asked about their old research a few times a month, until he talked to another retired colleague.

I mentioned something about how as a historian you must get these emails all the time about your research. And he said, No, I dont. That was when I started to realize my book was somewhat peculiar in that regard.

Davis said he is still proud of the work with both books, particularly the methodology he developed to calculate the number of people who were taken as faith slaves.

Taking the best contemporary estimates of how many slaves were at each location at a given time, Davis calculated how many new slaves it would take to replace the ones who died, escaped or were ransomed.

Davis believes this is the best way available to make estimates of how many were enslaved, given the limited records of the time.

Even rough calculations make it clear that Mediterranean faith slaving was not some minor phenomenon, a petty problem for people at the time, as has been assumed by many historians today, Davis told Ohio State News in 2010.

After its moment in the spotlight when it was released, Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters faded from view somewhat, until the rise of social media and the alt-right.

The first recent spike in readership of the story at the Ohio State News site occurred in February 2019, when more than 1,100 people viewed the story on one day. On a day in June, more than 5,000 people clicked on the story. Since then, more than 100 people a day have visited the story.

In 2020, it is still the sixth most viewed story on the Ohio State News website.

Davis said that while he realizes that issues of race in America have driven a lot of the interest in his book, he is reluctant to speculate too much about why the alt-right has embraced Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters.

Youre moving outside my skills as a historian into sociology or political psychology. Im not certain what motivates people. I just know that some people are using my research as a standard to rally around without really following it to its conclusions or trying to understand its implications, he said.

Then again, there have been only limited attempts among American academics to either develop or refute my findings, so perhaps non-academics interested in this subject feel they have nowhere else to go.

Davis said he is realistic about how his books on faith slavery will be remembered, but he still hopes his research encourages people to remember a historical reality that has often been forgotten or ignored.

Faith slavery played an important role in history. It deserves more attention.

As for Davis, he has moved on to researching a topic that should be somewhat less controversial: He has begun writing a series of historical novels on 16th-century Italian bandits.

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Why is a 16-year-old book on slavery so popular now? - The Ohio State University News